Effects of meals on objective and subjective measures of daytime sleepiness

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Feb;84(2):507-15. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1998.84.2.507.


Effects of recent food ingestion on daytime sleepiness were assessed in 16 subjects (8 men and 8 women) who were each studied on two occasions, 28 days apart. On each occasion, subjects ate a high-fat low-carbohydrate (CHO) (fat/CHO energy ratio 54:41) meal and an isoenergetic low-fat high-CHO meal (fat/CHO energy ratio 7:88) 4 h apart in a counterbalanced order. Sleepiness was measured at 2-hr intervals by using the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and the Akerstedt electroencephalograph sleepiness test. To control for circadian factors, one group (4 men, 4 women) ate the meals 2 h later than did the other group of subjects. There were no differences in sleepiness according to the composition of the meal. Sleepiness in the Multiple Sleep Latency Test was significantly greater 1.5 h after the meals were eaten than before (F 11.37; df 1,15; P = 0.004). Sleepiness was also enhanced in the Akerstedt sleepiness test 3 h 20 min after the meals. The results suggest that the meals induced an enhancement in sleepiness that was not solely due to circadian rhythms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*