6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, food to eat for better sleep

6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, food to eat for better sleep

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(ABC 6 News) – There are a few good sleep basics: go to bed and get up at the same time each day, avoid screens at least one hour before bed and keep your bedroom on the cool side.

But Consumer Reports says there’s a sleep remedy you might have overlooked – and it’s eating the right foods!

1-in-3 adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep, but there’s more and more evidence pointing to a possible solution – better sleep, may come from a better diet.

“Studies seem to point to a diet with a lower glycemic index, one that is low in saturated fat, and added sugars, and high in fiber,” says Consumer Reports’ Catherine Roberts.

There’s evidence that plant-based diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, can improve sleep in a variety of ways.

“What should you eat? More fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats from foods like avocados and nuts,” says Roberts.

Higher fruit and vegetable consumption means greater intake of beneficial antioxidant compounds called polyphenols – which can reduce inflammation, improve heart health and may help your body relax.

Now let’s talk about fiber! Along with helping to regulate blood sugar levels, fiber also contributes to a healthy gut microbiome, which is thought to help regulate circadian sleep rhythms – and the gut is involved with making serotonin, which promotes better mood and is involved in sleep regulation.

“You’ll sometimes see sensational studies about certain miracle foods that can help you sleep better. But it’s wise not to focus on single foods. The best strategy is to think about improving your diet as a whole, for both your health and for your sleep,” says Roberts.

Turns out, the reverse is equally true. Alongside the usual suspects like alcohol and caffeine – foods like red meat, sweets and refined carbohydrates – can get in the way of a good night’s sleep!