What you eat isn't just affecting your weight and your mood--a recent study on ScienceDaily.com says that it can even affect how much you sleep.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the the University of Pennsylvania discovered that certain nutrients (or lack thereof) have an effect on sleep quality. Using data from the 2007 to 2008 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they looked into how much shut-eye participants were getting. They were grouped according to their sleep patterns: very short (less than five hours a night), short (five to six hours a night), standard (seven to eight hours a night), and long (nine or more hours a night). Each participant's diet was also taken into account, including their calorie and water intake.

The results revealed interesting facts:

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  • Those who slept for short periods consumed the most calories. They were followed by standard sleepers, very short sleepers, and long sleepers.
  • Those who consumed a large variety of food slept the standard seven to eight hours the most.
  • Very short sleepers had less tap water, lycopene (found in red and orange food such as tomatoes), and carbohydrate intake.
  • Short sleepers had less tap water, vitamin C and selenium (found in shellfish, nuts, and meat) intake, but had higher amounts of lutein/zeaxanthin (found in green leafy vegetables.
  • Long sleepers took in less theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (saturated fat), choline (found in eggs and meat), and carbohydrates. They also had greater alcohol intake.

If you're not getting the right amount of sleep you need, you may want to take note of the aforementioned results and eat a more balanced diet.

(Photo by CollegeDegrees360 via CollegeDegrees360.com)

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