Your Better Health Update: Did You Know? Fatty Foods May Put You to Sleep


Sleep apnoea is a dangerous condition caused by a partial blockage of the airways during sleep. People with sleep apnoea stop breathing for a brief period while sleeping before rousing themselves with a snore or deep breath. Sleep apnoea often causes a poor night’s sleep contributing to daytime sleepiness and concentration issues during the day. Weight gain and diabetes increase the risk of developing sleep apnoea.


The MAILES (Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress) study started in 2009 and has followed the health of almost 2000 men living in Adelaide. Data on these men has provided further insight into how diet might affect the risk of sleep apnoea.


Researchers from the University of Adelaide analysed the diets of men with sleep apnoea from the MAILES study. They found that it was the heaviest men who were most at risk of sleep apnoea. Furthermore, they found that those who had the fattiest meal the night before the analysis of sleep patterns experienced the greatest daytime tiredness.


This research found that a fatty evening meal was the strongest predictor of daytime tiredness in men with sleep apnoea. This suggests that men with sleep apnoea might benefit from limiting their intake of fatty food late in the day. A low-fat meal in the evening might improve the ability to stay focused the following day.

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