A recent study involving 503 university students who followed the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) for five months, experienced improved overall sleep quality compared to their colleagues who did not adhere to the diet.
The study also showed that those with good adherence to the MedDiet had a significant association with better subjective sleep quality, less sleep latency (the time it takes to fall into a deep sleep), sleep disturbance and daytime dysfunction.
While the researchers acknowledged that further work is required to confirm and better understand why adherence to the MedDiet is linked with better sleep quality, they proposed a few hypotheses...
Previous studies have demonstrated that sleep quality is "strongly affected" by food quantity and quality, especially with foods that exacerbate and alleviate inflammation.
“The anti-inflammatory potential of the MedDiet may help to explain, in part, the strong positive association between the good adherence to the MedDiet and the reported good sleep quality components found among our study sample,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers added that worsening sleep quality and increased inflammation could create a vicious cycle.
“When the bodily inflammatory state is increased, the sleep quality is worsened, and when sleep quality is worsened, the inflammatory state becomes increased,” the researchers wrote.
The relationship between sleep and inflammation partly comes down to cytokine secretion. Inadequate sleep leads to increased cytokine secretion, which increases inflammation. Higher levels of cytokines have been repeatedly linked with sleep deprivation.
Along with lowering inflammation, the MedDiet is also rich in fruits and vegetables that are good sources of melatonin - our sleep hormone. An increase in melatonin can improve sleep quality and prevent some sleep disturbances.
To read the study, click here: