If you’ve dimmed all the lights, soundproofed your bedroom and put the cat out for the night, yet still can’t sleep, the food you eat may be the source of your insomnia.
A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center suggests that a diet consisting of high-fat foods may interfere with your sleep patterns.
Researchers saw that lab animals that had been put on a fatty-food diet gained weight as expected and developed fragmented sleep patterns. These lab rats also tended to sleep more during the day.
The connection between sleep and the effects of a diet high in fat appears to be the neuro-chemical orexin, explained by lead author Catherine Kotz: “Studies in humans indicate a relationship between sleep quality and obesity. Our previous work in animals shows a link between good quality sleep, resistance to weight gain and increased sensitivity to orexin, a brain chemical important in stabilizing sleep and wake states. The current studies show that after high-fat diet-induced weight gain in rats, sleep quality is poor and orexin sensitivity is decreased. These findings suggest that poor sleep associated with weight gain due to a high-fat diet may be a consequence of reduced orexin sensitivity.”