The Link Between What You Eat and How Well You Sleep

The Link Between What You Eat and How Well You Sleep

Sleep, diet, and overall health are more related than you might think.

Drinking beverages with a ton of caffeine before bed is probably not a good idea—this much we know. But what about the food we eat; how does our diet affect our sleep? That is precisely the question we are answering in this article, so do not hit snooze if you are interested in ways to improve your diet and your quality of sleep at the same time.

First, a note on drinking caffeine before bed. We just want to point out that SaladPower boosts energy without the wired, sleep-disrupting jitteriness of coffee and energy drinks. The next time you are looking for a boost for a late workout or to finish some loose ends at work, we encourage you to reach for SaladPower and enjoy all its natural, energy-giving properties without the downsides that other options give you. Please see our article on why SaladPower is the best energy option for you to learn more.

The Relationship Between Sleep, Diet, and Overall Health

Research suggests that sleep and diet have a symbiotic relationship: A healthy diet can improve sleep quality; high sleep quality can contribute to a healthy diet; and, in turn, our overall health increases.[1] A 2020 study of 432 American women associated poor diet and sleep quality with an increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.[2] That study found that women who adhered to a Mediterranean diet often had superior sleep quality.

Other studies corroborate the conclusion that individuals with a Mediterranean diet show an improved quality of sleep, which, as a result, improves their health.[3] Research suggests that this is true for men as well. A 2019 study observed 1,936 adults of both sexes and found a correlation between sleep quality, a Mediterranean diet, and overall health.[4]

Foods Linked to Improved Sleep

So what is it about a Mediterranean diet that improves sleep? Researchers believe that the emphasis on plant-based foods, particularly vegetables, fruits, and legumes, plays a crucial role in improving sleep quality.[5] As you may have heard us mention in the past, these foods are packed with a range of nutrients.

The fiber prevalent in many vegetables, fruits, and legumes may be of particular importance to improved sleep. For instance, a 2016 study found a correlation between high fiber intake throughout the day and an increase of deep sleep time in subsequent periods of rest.[6] That same study linked less restorative, more disruptive sleep patterns with high intakes of saturated fats and sugars. Since vegetables, fruits, and legumes contain little or no saturated fats and limited amounts of sugars, this may also help explain the correlation between a Mediterranean diet and a better quality of sleep.[7]

Vegetables and fruits are also a rich source of melatonin, a sleep-promoting compound.[8] Several studies indicated that diets with appropriate levels of magnesium may also play an important role in sleep quality.[9] Kale, broccoli, and spinach—all of which are in SaladPower—are excellent sources of magnesium.

In addition to emphasizing plant-based foods in your diet throughout the day, you may also want to try drinking chamomile tea before bed. Long-hailed as a sleep-inducer and mild tranquilizer, studies indicate that this may be a result of apigenin, a flavonoid in chamomile, which binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.[10]

If you are accustomed to drinking alcohol at night, chamomile is a terrific replacement beverage. Though alcohol may aid in getting to sleep, the quality of sleep is often poor, as alcohol has been linked to more sleep disruptions and less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.[11]

We encourage you to explore a plant-based diet and other foods that improve your quality of sleep, and, in turn, your health and overall quality of life. While many suffer from a vicious cycle of sleeping poorly, eating poorly, and watching their health wane, we emphasize that the opposite is also true: a healthy diet leads to better sleep and overall better health. As you continue refining a diet that is right for you, we hope you will incorporate our nutritious, organic smoothies—you won’t lose any sleep over it!


[1] St-Onge, M.-P., & Zuraikat, F. M. (2019). Reciprocal Roles of Sleep and Diet in Cardiovascular Health: a Review of Recent Evidence and a Potential Mechanism. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 21(3).

[2] Zuraikat, F. M., Makarem, N., St-Onge, M.-P., Xi, H., Akkapeddi, A., & Aggarwal, B. (2020). A Mediterranean Dietary Pattern Predicts Better Sleep Quality in US Women from the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network. Nutrients, 12(9), 2830.

[3] What’s the best diet for healthy sleep? A nutritional epidemiologist explains what food choices will help you get more restful Z’s | University of Michigan School of Public Health. (n.d.).

[4] Godos, J., Ferri, R., Caraci, F., Cosentino, F. I. I., Castellano, S., Galvano, F., & Grosso, G. (2019). Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Associated with Better Sleep Quality in Italian Adults. Nutrients, 11(5), 976.

[5] Trichopoulou, A., Martínez-González, M. A., Tong, T. Y., Forouhi, N. G., Khandelwal, S., Prabhakaran, D., Mozaffarian, D., & de Lorgeril, M. (2014). Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world. BMC Medicine, 12(1).

[6] St-Onge, M.-P., Roberts, A., Shechter, A., & Choudhury, A. R. (2016). Fiber and Saturated Fat Are Associated with Sleep Arousals and Slow Wave Sleep. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 12(01), 19–24.

[7] Polak, R., Phillips, E. M., & Campbell, A. (2015). Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clinical Diabetes, 33(4), 198–205.

[8] St-Onge, M. P., Mikic, A., & Pietrolungo, C. E. (2016). Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 7(5), 938–949.

[9] Arab, A., Rafie, N., Amani, R., & Shirani, F. (2022). The role of magnesium in sleep health: A systematic review of available literature. Biological Trace Element Research, 201(1).

[10] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901.

[11] Thakkar, M. M., Sharma, R., & Sahota, P. (2015). Alcohol disrupts sleep homeostasis. Alcohol, 49(4), 299–310.

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