How we sleep is something that’s fascinated researchers for decades. In particular, the medical community has been studying the effect sleep has on our diet, weight and other lifestyle factors. Now, a new study out of Purdue University is tackling that topic from a fresh angle by analysing the exact opposite: how might our diet affect the way that we sleep? The research was conducted by Purdue University and highlights the positive effects that a high-protein diet can have on our sleep and weight.
It began with a “pilot study” of 14 participants. After four weeks of consuming larger quantities of dietary protein they slept better and lost weight. This was followed by a bigger study that included 44 overweight or obese participants. Some were kept on a normal-protein diet, others on a high-protein diet. Both groups said that after sixteen weeks they slept better and lost a significant amount of weight.
“We found that while consuming a lower calorie diet with a higher amount of protein, sleep quality improves for middle-age adults,” said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science at the university. “This sleep quality is better compared to those who lost the same amount of weight while consuming a normal amount of protein.”
He added: “This research adds sleep quality to the growing list of positive outcomes of higher-protein intake while losing weight, and those other outcomes include promoting body fat loss, retention of lean body mass and improvements in blood pressure.”
In addition to the 70 million Americans with high blood pressure, another 60 million suffer from poor sleep and insomnia every year. One of the study’s author’s points out that either of those can lead to complications later in life. “Short sleep duration and compromised sleep quality frequently lead to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and premature death,” said Jing Zhou, a doctoral student in nutrition science. “Given the high prevalence of sleep problems it’s important to know how changes to diet and lifestyle can help improve sleep.”
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