Your daily ritual of indulging in a delicious brekkie muffin, a greasy lunchtime burger or cheap buffet dinner, may explain why you’re failing to get a good night’s sleep.

New research conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on January 14, 2016, indicates a diet low in fibre and high in saturated fat and sugar is associated with disrupted sleep patterns.

The study titled ‘Fiber and saturated fat are associated with sleep arousals and slow wave sleep,’ involved 26 adults of around 35 years of age, and tested their sleep patterns over the course of five nights. Findings revealed participants fell asleep 12 minutes faster after meals prepared by a nutritionist, which were low in saturated fat and high in protein, than those who self-selected food and beverages.

Another article published in Science Daily on January 14, 2016 cited the study’s lead investigator, Assistant Professor Marie-Pierre St-Onge from Columbia University, saying, “It was most surprising that a single day of greater fat intake and lower fibre could influence sleep parameters.”

Researchers found participants who regularly consumed a diet high in fibre, were more likely to spend time in “slow wave” sleep, a stage of deep sleep during which the body releases growth hormones and speeds the rate of repair.

According to the Dietitians Association of Australia, Aussies are consuming between 36-41 per cent of their energy from foods high in saturated-fat, sugar and sodium, and low in fibre, putting them at increased risk of developing heart disease. Furthermore, a report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation in October, 2011, called Re-awakening Australia, found 1.5 million Australians were living with the sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome and primary insomnia.

This research will serve to arm nutritionists and sleep practitioners with “food for thought”. We welcome your thoughts on the topic.