Tired? Exhausted? Sleeping normal hours but waking up feeling like you haven’t slept at all? You may be getting too much REM sleep, and your diet could be pushing you there. REM sleep is the stage where dreaming typically occurs and has faster heart rate and breathing. REM sleep is considered less restorative than a deeper level of sleep – non-REM stages.

According to results of a study by the researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, “An individual’s body composition and caloric intake can influence time spent in specific sleep stages.”

The study found evidence suggesting that adults who were overweight spent more time in REM sleep than normal-weight adults. They also found that an increase in protein predicted less of the restorative sleep stage: Stage 2. This is the stage that precedes deep sleep and where the heart rate slows. The researchers suggested more study was needed for more on the effects of a diet on sleep. They did, however, confirm the findings of a 2015 study stating that, “…eating less late at night may help curb the concentration and alertness deficits that accompany sleep deprivation.”

While dreaming in REM sleep may be a wonderful thing, too much of a good thing can be bad. We wish you sweet dreams – just not too many of them!

Sources:

Dinges, David F. and Goel, Namni. “Weight and Diet May Help Predict Sleep Quality: Overweight Adults Spend more of their Sleep in REM Stage than Healthy Weight Adults do, says Penn Medicine Study.” Penn Medicine News, 10, June 2016, https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2016/june/weight-and-diet-may-help-predi. Accessed 27 December 2017.