Relationships among dietary nutrients and subjective sleep, objective sleep, and napping in women

Sleep Med. 2010 Feb;11(2):180-4. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.07.014. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


Objective: To describe which dietary nutrient variables are related to subjective and objective habitual sleep and subjective and objective napping.

Methods: Participants were 459 post-menopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative. Objective sleep was estimated using one week of actigraphy. Subjective sleep was prospectively estimated with a daily sleep diary. Dietary nutrients were calculated from food frequency questionnaires.

Results: The most significant correlations were with subjective napping, including (from strongest to weakest): total fat, calories, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, trans fat, water, proline, serine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, cholesterol, leucine, glutamic acid, ash, isoleucine, histidine, sodium, tryptophan, protein, threonine, cystine, methionine, phosphorous, polyunsaturated fat, animal protein, aspartic acid, arginine, lysine, alanine, caffeine, riboflavin, gamma-tocopherol, glycine, retinol, delta-tocopherol, Vitamin D, and selenium. Actigraphic nocturnal sleep duration was negatively associated with total fat, monounsaturated fat, trans fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, calories, gamma-tocopherol, cholesterol, and alpha-tocopherol-eq.

Conclusions: Actigraphic total sleep time was negatively associated with intake of fats. Subjective napping, which may be a proxy for subjective sleepiness, was significantly related to fat intake as well as intake of meat.

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / physiology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Vitamin D