Here’s Why Vegans May Sleep Better Than You Do

Aug 27 2017 - 7:31am
Insomnia, vegan health diet nutrition

Do vegans sleep better? The answer may lie in some new research on diet and insomnia. Researchers have found that our diet directly affects how well we sleep. This may uncover why people who eat high carbohydrate diets, like vegans do, may sleep better. So, if sleep has been hard to come by, your diet choices are well worth taking a good honest look at.

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Insomnia Is All About Diet

When it comes to insomnia, your diet strongly affects your sleep quality. While its common knowledge that eating a large meal before bed is a bad idea if you want a good night’s sleep, research confirms that avoiding food for three hours prior to turning in for the night helps your body to and release the sleepy hormone, melatonin.

The study, published in the journal Appetite, found big differences in the diets of people who slept the longest compared with those who didn’t sleep a wink.

The research team analyzed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NHANES includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The sample for the survey is selected to represent the U.S. population of all ages and demographics. For the current study, researchers used the survey question regarding how much sleep each participant reported getting each night to separate the sample into groups of different sleep patterns.

Sleep patterns were broken out as "Very Short'' (Less than 5 hours per night), ''Short'' (5-6 hours per night), ''Standard' (7-8 hours per night), and ''Long'' (9 hours or more per night). NHANES participants also sat down with specially trained staff who went over, in great detail, a full day's dietary intake. This included everything from the occasional glass of water to complete, detailed records of every part of each meal. The research team analyzed whether each group differed from the 7-8 hour "standard" group on any nutrients and total caloric intake.

Researchers found that short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, followed by long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

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High Carbohydrate Diets Promote Better Sleep

Participants who slept less than five hours a night were less hydrated, vitamin C, deficient and selenium deficient, which is found in nuts, meat and shellfish, but ate more green, leafy vegetables.

Longer sleep was associated with consuming a high carbohydrate, low fat diet, less choline, which is found in eggs and fatty meats, and less chocolate and coffee and tea.

More Variety In The Diet Adds Up To Better Sleep

"Overall, people who sleep 7 -- 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety," said Dr. Grandner, who headed the study.

Raw Vegans May Get The Best Sleep.

On the whole, you can ever go wrong by eating a better diet. Although it’s not specifically mentioned in the study, vegans (especially raw vegans) may just have the most optimal diet for getting better sleep. Avoiding animal products, eating more fiber rich foods, such as fruit and leafy greens for hydration and vitamin C, and eating more plant-based sources of selenium, such as those found in brazil nuts and seeds, may be the key to securing a better night’s sleep. Here is an interesting tweet by that includes other vegan foods that are high in melatonin.

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