March 2 through 9 is National Sleep Awareness Week , so iHerb would like to take this opportunity to to share information and tips on how you could get a better night’s sleep. For this article, let’s talk about how following a Mediterranean Diet could be beneficial for sleep.
Often, it’s the oldest, most time-tested traditions that modern science is just catching up with. The Mediterranean diet is one of those traditions.
It has already been a praised method for promoting longevity, improving brain function, maintaining healthy heart, controlling diabetes and preventing many chronic diseases. Recently, researchers have also discovered that sticking to the Mediterranean diet — along with regular exercise — can help improve the quality of sleep in some people.
Sleep apnea is characterized by obstructed breathing patterns throughout the night. This can make a person stop breathing for 10-30 seconds at a time 10-50 times an hour and is more common in obese individuals.
A study published by the European Respiratory Society showed positive results in a group of 20 people with sleep apnea who followed the Mediterranean diet and walked at least 30 minutes every day for six months. They not only had fewer apnea disturbances throughout the night, but they had greater physical improvement and lost some abdominal weight as well. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if you believe you have sleep apnea to discuss all options for treatment.
The Mediterranean diet is less like a “diet” in the conventional sense and more like a lifestyle. It promotes good food, family, friends and activities with a respectable amount of good wine. One of the things that is so attractive about the Mediterranean diet is its traditional take on sharing meals. Eating becomes more of a social event where everybody can relax, take their time and enjoy their food.
This diet doesn’t have a strict food plan either. It only entails eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and olive oil and less red meat, dairy and refined foods. Whole foods are key. Think about dishes like whole grain pasta with sauteed spinach and lemon, fresh bell peppers and cucumbers with creamy hummus or Greek salad with olive oil. These foods are so wholesome it’s no wonder we can sleep so satisfied after eating them and drinking a glass of red wine.
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OldWays; Med Diet & Health; OldWays; accessed March 2, 2014
European Respiratory Society; Mediterranean diet and exercise can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms; European Respiratory Journal; accessed March 2, 2014