Study objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between food intake and sleep patterns in healthy individuals.
Methods: Fifty-two healthy volunteers (27 women and 25 men) were recruited to participate in the study. Volunteers underwent sleep evaluation through nocturnal polysomnography and completed a 3-day food diary to evaluate food intake.
Results: No differences in sleep patterns were observed in either gender, except in the percentage of stage 1 sleep, which was greater in men. Different correlations were observed between sleep and dietary variables according to gender. The correlation between dietary and sleep variables in men indicated a negative relationship between nocturnal fat intake and the sleep latency, including REM sleep. The percentage of nocturnal fat intake correlated with sleep efficiency, sleep latency, REM latency, stage 2 sleep, REM sleep, and wake after sleep onset (WASO) in women. The percentage of nocturnal caloric intake correlated with sleep latency and efficiency in women.
Conclusions: We conclude that food intake during the nocturnal period is correlated with negative effects on the sleep quality of healthy individuals. Indeed, food intake near the sleeping period (dinner and late night snack) was negatively associated with sleep quality variables. More studies are necessary to elucidate the real effect of food intake on sleep.
Keywords: Sleep; food intake; nocturnal caloric intake; sleep quality.