Have you ever had a bad night of sleep, followed by a day of feeling tired, lack of focus, irritation, mood swings and appetite changes? If so, you’ve probably also wondered how you can prevent a bad sleep experience in the first place. We all know sleep is important for our daily functioning. However, sleep also plays a crucial role in the functioning of our immune system, keeping our hormones in balance, memory, concentration, productivity, and more. How would you feel if you knew that there are specific foods that could help you improve your sleep? Research has shown that certain foods can improve sleep, whereas others could contribute to poor sleep health. However, these effects have only been demonstrated after long-term food consumption. Thus, for our research we decided to investigate whether eating kiwis, dark chocolate and pears have different short-term effects on sleep.
The first step in our study is a pretest to assess the participants current sleep quality and latency, after which they are randomly assigned to one of the three conditions. Each participant will have to eat either two kiwis, two pieces of dark chocolate, or one pear an hour before going to sleep. The next day, we assess their sleep again to see whether there are any effects on sleep quality and latency.
Moreover, we also want to investigate whether there are gender differences regarding the specific food’s effect on sleep. There is existing evidence that men sleep less than women and that women have longer sleep latency. Now we want to know if the different foods have different effects on each gender respectively. If we can demonstrate such an effect of food on sleep, then it would be very easy to implement that in your sleeping schedule, simply by avoiding or eating certain foods before going to sleep!