This snack might surprise you, as it seems more bright and energizing than sleep-inducing. But according to research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, kiwifruit can actually help you get some rest. Kiwifruit contains antioxidants and serotonin that can be beneficial in combating sleep disorders.
So, for this study, researchers decided to investigate the fruit's effects. Two men and 22 women between the ages of 20 and 55 participated in the study. They made no changes to their diets other than to consume two kiwifruits one hour before going to bed every night for four weeks.
Two hundred and six women met the researchers' criteria for inclusion in the study. Of these, 39.8% had metabolic syndrome. Approximately 52.9% had abdominal obesity, 55.8% had high triglycerides, 17.5% had hyperglycemia, and 59.7% had low levels of HDL (beneficial) cholesterol. However, none of these women differed from the healthy women in their scores on the sexual health section of the MENQOL - except for one group. Those who were hyperglycemic were much more likely to experience low libido and impaired sexuality than those whose blood sugar was healthy.
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The researchers used a number of measurements, including the Chinese version of the Pittsburgh Sleep quality Index (CPSQI), a three-day sleep diary, and activity-logging to evaluate the participants' sleep quality. This included what time they went to bed, what time they actually fell asleep, when they woke up, how long they slept, and their sleep efficiency.
Compared to measurements taken before the participants began eating the kiwifruit, by the end of the study period, measures of CPSQI, waking time after sleep onset, and sleep onset latency all improved significantly, decreasing by 42.4%, 28.9%, and 35.4% respectively. Sleep time and sleep efficiency also improved, increasing 13.4% and 5.41% respectively.
So if you feel like you haven't been sleeping as well as you could be or you notice it takes you a while to fall asleep, give kiwifruit a try. If nothing else, it's a much healthier late-night snack than a bowl of ice cream!
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr., 2011;20(2):169-74.