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Home > Trending on TAP > July-2014 > Research Shows Which Nutrients Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep

Research Shows Which Nutrients Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep

7/9/2014 1:41:45 PM

The perils of short sleep duration are well documented: Lack of shuteye has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric illness. But sleeping too long can also be bad for physical and mental health, According to a study conducted at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, along with another study from researchers from the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tehran, there is an impact of selected nutrients on sleep duration.

Researchers found that the magnesium group slept longer, fell asleep faster, and had a significant reduction in early-morning awakening compared to the control group.

The Pennsylvania study, published in Appetite in May 2013, analyzed habitual sleep parameter data and dietary/nutritional variables from the 2007-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers defined very short sleep duration as less than five hours a night, short sleep as five to six hours, normal sleep as seven to eight hours and long sleep as nine or more hours per night.

Subjects who ate the greatest food variety had the most normal sleep patterns. After adjusting for exercise levels, age, sex, body mass index, and demographic factors, the researchers found that low theobromine consumption was the largest nutrient contributor to both short and long sleep durations.

Low vitamin C, tap water, carbohydrate, lycopene, and selenium consumption were, in order of impact, the next largest contributors to short or very short sleep duration. High lutein and zeaxanthin levels were also significant factors in short sleep patterns.

After theobromine, the top contributors to long sleep duration were low levels of dodecanoic acid, choline, lycopene and carbohydrates. High alcohol consumption was also a significant factor.

The Iranian study, conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tehran, was published in December 2012 in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. The double-blind, randomized clinical trial involved 46 elderly men and women who received either 500 mg of magnesium or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Subjects filled out insomnia severity index questionnaires and physical activity and sleep logs at the beginning and end of the study, and their blood samples were also analyzed for magnesium, renin, melatonin, and cortisol levels.

Researchers found that the magnesium group slept longer, fell asleep faster, and had a significant reduction in early-morning awakening compared to the control group. The magnesium group also had lower serum cortisol and higher renin and melatonin.

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