Want Better Sleep? Study Suggests to Start Looking at What You Eat

If you’re feeling a lot sleepier lately, you’re not alone! Believe it or not, struggling to get enough sleep, the recommended minimum of 8 hours of sleep, is a challenge for almost everyone these days.

Did you know the key to getting better sleep may start with trying a Mediterranean diet? Don’t believe me? Here’s the science behind it:

A recent study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests that the key to getting better sleep at night starts with looking into the type of food you eat regularly.

Reviewing twenty studies published between 1975 and 2021, study author Katherine Wilson and her team of researchers examined the connection between diet composition (such as macronutrients) and sleep quality.

The team found that certain amounts and types of macronutrients such as carbohydrates and fats may be linked with sleep quality.

More specifically, the researchers found that diets that consist of higher proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthier fats are connected to better sleep quality.

What does this have to do with trying a Mediterranean diet? If you want to improve your quality of sleep at night, it might be worth adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, which tends to have more of these potentially sleep-boosting foods.

As the study abstract put it, “diets rich in [fibre], fruits, vegetables and anti-inflammatory nutrients and lower in saturated fat (e.g. Mediterranean diet) were associated with better sleep quality.”

In an interview, study author Katherine Wilson said “It seems that those who eat more [fibre], healthier fats (such as polyunsaturated fats), serotonin- and melatonin-rich fruits and vegetables, and anti-inflammatory nutrients (such as antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids) have better sleep”.

While the research team did say “more studies are needed to explain what drives these associations”, it still might be worth a try to incorporate more Mediterranean-inspired foods into your diet to get better sleep at night.

These Mediterranean-inspired foods could include:

  • Fruits and Vegetables, like strawberries, tomatoes, and kale
  • Fibre-rich complex carbohydrates like oats, brown rice and barley
  • High-protein foods like salmon, eggs and shrimp
  • Healthier fats like nuts, olive oil and avocado

This post is also available in: English

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