UNIB studies the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and quality of sleep

February 20, 2024
UNIB studies the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and quality of sleep

The researcher from the Universidad Internacional Iberoamericana (International Iberoamerican University, UNIB), Angel Olider Rojas, together with other researchers from other areas, studies the relationship between the adoption of the Mediterranean diet and sleep characteristics.

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary pattern; it is a widely accepted diet in non-Mediterranean cultures. This diet is mainly based on plant-based foods, rich in antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C and D; phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, which may contribute to prevent microglia activation, decrease of inflammatory cytokines, and inhibition of neuroinflammation.

The characteristics of this diet may have an impact on the health of the brain and, consequently, be related to the particularities of sleep. Sleep is considered an elementary physiological process for the human body. In addition to its effects on the brain, poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is essential to point out that sleep disorders can be a prodromal factor for mental and brain health problems since they are related to cognitive and affective disorders, as well as to neurodegenerative diseases in general.  

Among other aspects, eating habits play a key role in sleep quality. In this sense, the benefits of a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, and a good quality of sleep could be very important in the prevention of various chronic non-communicable diseases, mainly those related to the central nervous system.

The aim of this research was to review studies that analyze the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and sleep quality, including duration, morning sleepiness, and insomnia. Research results show that the adoption of a Mediterranean dietary pattern may be linked to better sleep characteristics. Despite the possibility of a causal relationship, this study shows that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to better overall sleep quality. The attractive aspect of this diet, which includes foods rich in inherently sound organoleptic and nutritional properties, could be an extra incentive for its adoption, mainly when compared to other diets that limit the intake of certain foods or nutrients.

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