Dietary Macronutrients and Sleep

West J Nurs Res. 2016 Aug;38(8):938-58. doi: 10.1177/0193945916643712. Epub 2016 May 11.


This study examined the effects of macronutrient diets on sleep quantity and quality. Using a repeated-measures, randomized crossover study design, 36 young adults served as their own control, and consumed high protein, carbohydrate, fat, and control diets. Treatment orders were counterbalanced across the dietary groups. Following consumption of the study diets, sleep measures were examined for within-subject differences. Fatty acid intakes and serum lipids were further analyzed for differences. Sleep actigraphs indicated wake times and wake minutes (after sleep onset) were significantly different when comparing consumption of macronutrient diets and a control diet. Post hoc testing indicated high carbohydrate intakes were associated with significantly shorter (p < .001) wake times. Also, the Global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index© post hoc results indicated high fat intake was associated with significantly better (p < .05) sleep in comparison with the other diets. These results highlight the effects that dietary manipulations may have on sleep.

Keywords: actigraphs; carbohydrates; fats; proteins; sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins* / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins