Losing Sleep Over Dietary Fat

You may have heard that not getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep can contribute to weight gain. New research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior suggests that consuming a high-fat diet can disrupt normal sleep patterns. Kind of a chicken and the egg ‘which came first’ scenario.

Analyzing the 24 hour sleep-wake cycle of lab rats, scientists found that when normal rodents were fed a high-fat diet they tended to sleep more during the times when they’d normally be awake and active. Even worse, their time spent sleeping was more restless and fragmented than the slumber of rats fed a normal diet.

True Strength Moment: Orexin is a brain chemical that helps stabilize the sleep wake cycle. Researchers found that a high-fat diet decreased sensitivity to orexin and lead to poor sleep quality. Considering that the majority of muscle rebuilding takes place while you’re sleeping, what you eat to fuel exercise recovery takes on a whole new level of importance.