Hey packlings 👋
What’s the link between a healthy diet and optimal sleep? How big has the business of sleep grown in the past five years? We’ve got the answers, and plenty of other juicy topics in this week’s edition of the Sleep & Fitness News. Let’s get into it!
🥗 The Curious Link Between Nutrition and Sleep
You probably know that your eating choices throughout the day may also affect your sleep at night. In fact, more and more evidence shows that overall dietary patterns can affect sleep quality. Nutritional epidemiologist Erica Johnson dove into the research to parse out any relationship between the trends in poor sleep quality and eating more processed and fatty foods. Using data from 2011 to 2016, she found that people who did not adhere to dietary recommendations (consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) had shorter sleep duration. She also assessed an intervention study which found that those who increased their fruit and vegetable consumption over a three-month period reported better sleep quality and reductions in insomnia symptoms. However, an important caveat is that most of these studies cannot easily disentangle the direction of the relationships between sleep and nutrition. In reality it is likely a cyclical relationship, where good sleep quality and dietary habits reinforce one another.
💤 A Look Inside the Business of Sleep
Gone are the days of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” as it’s now becoming cool to prioritize bedtime… and the sleep industry is here for it. As pointed out this week in Axios, venture capital investing in sleep businesses has increased from $400 million in 2017 up to $800 million in 2021, while the topic of sleep is trending at schools, in companies, and in the media. It’s high times, as we’re seeing a wave of new products including wearables, heating and cooling technology, and even some fancy bedding. However, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype before nailing down the fundamentals. Karin Johnson, a sleep medicine specialist and professor of neurology points to the "cheap way" to improve your sleep quality - “keep a sleep diary and track the number of times you get up and whether there are any factors that lead to better or worse sleep.”
🕺 Rob Lowe’s “Embarrassing Amount” of Sleep to Stay Youthful
After 45 years in Hollywood, Rob Lowe is looking just as youthful as he did when he walked off the set of St Elmo’s Fire in 1985. "I get tons of sleep. Like, an embarrassing amount," says Lowe, who declines to give the number. "I don't want people to think something is wrong with me. It's a lot of sleep." In fact, Lowe's black Cadillac Escalade SUV actually serves as both transport and sleep sanctuary as he shuttles between projects. He’s currently working on four. "The seats recline all the way down, so I can sleep between the various sets. I have it down to a science. The eye mask, the Bose noise-canceling headphones. And I'm gone." says Lowe. I’m sure his health-obsessed character Chris Traeger from Parks & Rec would be proud!
🧠 The Long-Term Link Between Sleep Problems & Cognitive Function
This month USCF published a new study that tracked 500 participants’ sleep patterns a decade ago when they were in their 30s and 40s, and now eleven years later looked at their cognitive progression. They found that the people who reported the worst sleep back then also had the worst cognitive function a decade later. While these results showed an association between poor sleep and cognitive decline, they didn’t establish a firm cause. Experts have found that brain changes that lead to dementia can start decades before you notice the first symptom, and in midlife, the changes can still be reversed. “Most fundamentally, the brain recharges when we sleep, and does a lot of cleanup and organization,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, MD, psychiatrist and sleep medicine physician. “It is no surprise that poor sleep has a negative impact on cognition. The good news… is that improving sleep can also improve [mood, anxiety, cognition, and a myriad of other health issues.]”
🍒 Introducing the Sleepy Girl Mocktails
We don’t always fancy ourselves as trend setters, but it’s great to see the New York Times jumping on the bandwagon for the tart cherry mocktails we were making during Thanksgiving. That said, their addition of magnesium powder into the mix is quite intriguing! The reason for using tart cherry juice is that it’s fairly rich in melatonin (albeit a fraction of what you’d see in a melatonin pill or gummy). Likewise magnesium shouldn’t knock you out, but instead is only intended to have a calming effect. So while the cocktail may not put you right to bed, the moral of the story is - “if you start taking anything and you start believing that it allows you to go to sleep — that belief is really powerful,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. So go on and give this sleepy girl mocktail a try!
That's all for this edition of sleep & fitness news.. Thanks so much for following along! Remember to follow @lagoonsleep on Instagram for your daily dose of sleep & fitness news and entertainment.