Sure, protein’s a supermacro that, along with its other duties, repairs and builds muscle after intense exercise. But it may have another, more surprising job: helping you get a good night’s sleep. Researchers at Columbia University fed two groups of subjects different meals to find out which combo promoted the best z’s: One group got high-fiber, extra- high-protein, low-saturated-fat fare, while the other ate a diet high in saturated fat and sugar and low in fiber and protein.
Outcome: The high-protein group fell asleep in less than 20 minutes and spent significant time in deep sleep (for which their immune systems said, “Thanks, bro!”). But the poor saps in the fat-and-sugar group took almost a half hour to nod off and got the kind of crappy sleep that characterizes sleep disorders.
To sleep well, get about 1 gram of protein daily for each pound you weigh.