Getting a good night’s sleep helps benefit our health in several different ways, from cleaning up the waste matter in the brain and reducing blood pressure to even boosting our immune system. But did you know that sleeping well each night can make you eat healthier too?
A new study suggests that good sleep quality, not duration, is associated with greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The study looked at 1,639 participants over the age of 65.
The participants went through extensive face-to-face interviews with neurologists, trained neuropsychologists, and dieticians. Sociodemographic information was also collected along with medical history and family history, lifestyle habits, physical activity, memory, and other cognitive problems.
Diet was evaluated through the use of a food frequency questionnaire which contained 69 questions regarding the consumption of a variety of foods.
Participants also completed the Sleep Scale from the Medical Outcomes Survey, which asked participants a variety of questions regarding their sleep habits.
The Mediterranean diet is often hailed as a healthy way to eat as it offers positive benefits to several different areas of health. It is compiled of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, and no processed foods.
Although the researchers found an association between sleep and the Mediterranean diet, the exact relationship is still unclear. For example, adhering to the Mediterranean diet may promote good sleep and poor sleep may prompt individuals to make unhealthier food choices.
Senior author of the study Dr. Mary Yannakoulia explained, “The term Mediterranean diet is widely used to describe a dietary pattern characterized by the abundance of plant foods: fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Olive oil is the principal source of fat. A Mediterranean diet also includes moderate amounts of dairy products, low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry, red meat in low amounts, and wine, consumed modestly. We need to further explore the mechanisms that link this healthful pattern with better sleep habits, thus promoting quality of life of older people.”
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