Here's the flipside to the story about foods that can help you sleep better: Eating a diet heavily composed of the "wrong" foods can interfere with your sleep.
That's the news from a new study conducted by scientists at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Veterans' Affairs Medical Center and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. What are the wrong foods in this case? A diet made of up high-fat foods may diminish the quality of your sleep as well as cause you to gain weight.
To investigate the effects of a high-fat diet on sleep, researchers put rats on a fatty-food diet for eight weeks. The rats, no surprise, gained weight. They then monitored the rats' 24-hour sleep-wake cycles and found that the animals' sleep cycles had changed for the worse:
Rats who ate the high-fat diet for eight weeks slept more than rats on a regular diet
These same rats also showed more fragmented sleep
The extra sleep accrued by the high-fat-diet rats mostly occurred during the daytime.
Researchers likened this daytime sleeping among the high-fat diet-rats to the excessive daytime sleepiness that is common among people who are overweight or obese.