Fruit and Veggies May Help You Sleep Better

We often say that eating a balanced diet can help you get a good night’s sleep. In the past, we have written about how nuts, dairy and cherries can help you sleep. Plus, studies have found that diets high in fat and sugar negatively impact sleep.

A new study has found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is best for longer, more restorative sleep. The study used data from more than 5,000 adults.

The researchers excluded data from people with extremely low energy to maintain data integrity. They took age, gender, income and whether someone was a morning person or night owl into account. People were divided into three groups — short sleepers (less than seven hours), normal sleepers (seven to nine hours) and long sleepers (more than nine hours).  

The optimal healthy amount of sleep where people felt most rested was the healthy sleepers. Short sleepers ate 37 fewer grams of fruit and veggies per day than normal sleepers. Long sleepers ate 73 grams fewer.

The study was based on surveys. People who read our blog know that survey-based studies aren’t our favorite. People in the study filled out detailed information on 134 questions about how frequently they ate things in the course of a year. The problem with surveys is that people tend to forget things. And, people often want to seem healthier than they are and aren’t completely honest when filling out health information.

Moreover, an observational study can only ever find a link, not a cause and effect. The study shows that normal sleepers eat the most fruit and vegetables. But it doesn’t show that eating fruit and vegetables causes healthier sleep patterns.

The study found that normal sleepers tended to eat more leafy greens, cucumbers and tomatoes and fewer canned vegetables. But that could be that people who prioritize spinach also prioritize getting enough sleep, not that spinach helps you sleep.  

While this observational study can’t prove cause and effect, the researchers are calling for more studies. They also pointed out that people following weight loss plans might be interested in the results.

The key takeaway is that shortage of sleep coincides with an unhealthy diet,” said study co-author Dr. Timo Partonen. “This means that weight-watching programs need to pay attention to sleep habits as well… as it may ruin or promote the outcome.”

If you are following a keto diet and haven’t been able to sleep, it might be time to add some leafy greens to your meals. The vitamins, minerals and nutrients in fruits and vegetables help you stay strong and healthy. Without the nutritional benefits of fruit and vegetables, your health can suffer.

Banner image: Jane Trang Doan via Pexels

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