If you’re plagued by daytime sleepiness, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey think they might know why. And they also believe that a small change in the foods you eat could wake up your brain.
When the medical researchers studied 31 people and analyzed their diets, they found that the folks who had the toughest times keeping their eyes open also ate the diets highest in fat. The people who were more alert and peppy tended to eat more carbohydrates.
“Increased fat consumption has an acute adverse effect on alertness of otherwise healthy, non-obese adults,” says principal investigator Alexandros Vgontzas. “Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue are very prevalent in the modern world and on the rise. It appears that a diet high in fat decreases alertness acutely, and this may have an impact on an individual’s ability to function and also public safety.”
If every afternoon finds you struggling to keep from descending into a sleepy stupor, these scientists advocate a switch from fried foods like donuts and french fries to starchier items like steamed rice and broccoli.