New research undertaken at the Harokopio University in Athens has revealed that eating a Mediterranean diet can help you sleep longer and better each night.
Greek scientists discovered that people over the age of sixty-five who ate olives, fish and seasonal fruits, a major part of the Mediterranean diet slept sounder compared to those who ate less healthy and had poor sleep.
Senior author Dr. Mary Yannakoulia said “the term Mediterranean diet is widely used to describe a dietary pattern characterised 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.”
Evaluations of the sleep quality and the experiment included asking participants how long it took them to dose off, and their levels of restlessness during the night and drowsiness during the day.
The results which were published in the medical journal Geriatrics and Gerontology International were surprising for researchers who didn’t know that not only the Mediterranean diet can boost heart health, but may also promote better sleep. They said that this could be due to some foods in the diet is ‘good sources’ of melatonin – a hormone that tells the brain it’s time to switch off and sleep. The findings can also suggest by poor sleep causes people to eat less healthy.
“We need to further explore the mechanisms that link this healthful pattern with better sleep habits, thus promoting quality of life of older people” Dr. Mary Yannakoulia added.