There is much emerging information surrounding the impact of sleep duration and quality on food choice and consumption in both children and adults. However, less attention has been paid to the effects of dietary patterns and specific foods on nighttime sleep. Early studies have shown that certain dietary patterns may affect not only daytime alertness but also nighttime sleep. In this review, we surveyed the literature to describe the role of food consumption on sleep. Research has focused on the effects of mixed meal patterns, such as high-carbohydrate plus low-fat or low-carbohydrate diets, over the short term on sleep. Such studies highlight a potential effect of macronutrient intakes on sleep variables, particularly alterations in slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep with changes in carbohydrate and fat intakes. Other studies instead examined the intake of specific foods, consumed at a fixed time relative to sleep, on sleep architecture and quality. Those foods, specifically milk, fatty fish, tart cherry juice, and kiwifruit, are reviewed here. Studies provide some evidence for a role of certain dietary patterns and foods in the promotion of high-quality sleep, but more studies are necessary to confirm those preliminary findings.
Keywords: REM; carbohydrate; cherry; dairy; diet; glycemic index; kiwi; sleep.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.