A new study – hoping to improve quality sleep for patients with lung conditions – has uncovered a tip that could help others with sleep problems.
Poor sleep can impact every area of quality of life and lead to the development of a number of illnesses.
COPD patients (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in particular have sleep disorders and researchers wanted to find natural substances with the potential to improve sleep in this group.
Their results, published in renowned journal Nature And Science Of Sleep may also be good news for others who find it hard to stay asleep.
The study found when COPD patients drank concentrated beetroot juice at bedtime, their overnight sleep quality improved and the duration of deep sleep was increased.
Just before bedtime, patients were given a single shot of concentrated beetroot juice with nitrate one night and without nitrate another night.
While the patients slept, they were connected to measuring equipment that records electrical impulses in the brain, oxygen saturation in the blood and other sleep data.
The oxygen level in the blood was higher during parts of the night when patients consumed the concentrated beetroot juice.
Dr Harald Engan, who coordinated the research between Norwegian, Swedish and American universities, has worked on similar studies where beetroot was found to help altitude sickness.
It is the high content of nitrate in the beetroot that is the key to better sleep. After consuming, this is converted to Nitric Oxide in the blood system, increasing levels of oxygen in the blood and improved distribution of oxygen to body tissues.
Dr Engan says: “These experiments, as well as other beetroot juice studies, inspired us to investigate whether this natural and healthy vegetable juice can help patient groups who are in rehabilitation.
“This is the first study to investigate the effects on sleep, and more studies will be needed to enable us to fully understand the mechanisms behind our results.”
The study used Beet It (concentrated beetroot juice) shots with 400mg natural nitrate content and nitrate depleted Beet It shots manufactured by James White Drinks (UK) as placebo.