- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Want better-quality sleep? Cut back on junk food. Researchers found that eating an unhealthy diet high in processed food can affect people's deep sleep (also known as slow-wave sleep). During this sleep stage, the pituitary gland in the brain releases a burst of growth hormone, which helps build and repair muscles, bones, and other tissues. Deep sleep also boosts cognitive function and memory.
The study, published online May 28, 2023, by Obesity, looked at 15 healthy men with normal sleep habits (sleeping an average of seven to nine hours per night). The participants ate either a healthy or unhealthy diet for one week. The two diets contained the same number of calories, adjusted to each individual's daily requirements. However, the unhealthy diet had a higher content of sugar and saturated fat and included many processed foods.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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