4 Ways a Plant-based Diet Can Improve Your Sleep
“A healthier diet, namely one with more plant-based foods, may improve sleep health and lower your risk of insomnia.” – Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, associate professor of nutritional medicine and director of the Sleep Center of Excellence at Columbia University Irving Medical.
Going vegan may be trending now more than ever, but there is a vast spectrum of reasons why people may choose a vegan, vegetarian, or simply predominantly plant-based diet. For some, the climate crisis and animal rights are key values behind their veganism. That said many people choose to explore a plant-forward diet simply for the sake of their own health. Plant-based diets, though not for everyone, have shown to have promise in a number of health concerns, including sleep disorders.
Though there is not extensive research in the area of veganism and sleep, there are a number of reasons why a plant-based diet may help you sleep deeper, and even prevent common sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and even snoring.
1. A healthy plant-based diet is typically low in fat and processed foods. Meat and dairy are often high in fat, making them harder to digest. Eating high-fat foods too close to bedtime can affect the body’s ability to go into rest and recovery mode because it is still processing and digesting food.
2. Plant-based diets typically contain fruits and vegetables with proteins that are high in tryptophan, the amino acid known for making you sleepy because it naturally enhances melatonin production in the body. Higher levels of melatonin support the natural circadian rhythm that is responsible for the timely onset of and consistently deeper sleep. That said tryptophan is also found in fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and even beans.
3. Plant-based diets often are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E which are known to ease common sleep disorders and support overall sleep quality which of course leads to waking up well-rested and refreshed.
4. A healthy plant-based diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts can provide many of the necessary nutrients for overall health and well-being. Not consuming inflammatory or otherwise unhealthy foods that are high in sugar or fat will naturally promote better sleep, ease sleep disorders and even support weight loss which often results in improved sleep.
It is important to note that a vegan or plant-based diet does require you to be conscious of certain deficiencies, namely vitamin B12 which may actually cause sleep disorders such as insomnia, among other health concerns.
If you struggled with sleep, in addition to diet, natural wellness supplements can significantly support balancing your circadian rhythm, reducing stress and other contributing factors to sleep disorders. The Holief Sleep line of products has topicals, tinctures, and gummies that all support deeper, uninterrupted sleep, and fit effortlessly into your evening routine. All Holief products are vegan and cruelty-free.