Plant-based diets: Reducing cardiovascular risk by improving sleep quality?

Curr Sleep Med Rep. 2018 Mar;4(1):74-78. Epub 2018 Feb 5.


Purpose of review: The goal of this review is to evaluate recent research related to the effects of plant-based diets on sleep patterns. We discuss plausible mechanisms for the link between plant-based diets and sleep, and provide suggestions for future research in this area.

Recent findings: Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality have been shown to negatively affect individual dietary habits, through enhanced appetite, increased overall caloric intake, as well as lower diet quality. Emerging data also indicate a novel bi-directional association by which dietary choices may also influence sleep duration and quality, but little is known about dietary patterns and their influence on sleep. Epidemiological studies report associations between Mediterranean diet eating patterns and sleep quality, suggesting a benefit of plant-rich diet consumption on sleep. The high isoflavone and tryptophan content of these diets may be a mechanism by which plant foods may enhance sleep quality.

Summary: Plant-based diets may provide additional benefits to health via their potential effects on sleep quality. Research is needed to establish a causal relation between a plant-rich dietary pattern and sleep health.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; cardiovascular disease risk; plant-based diet; sleep; tryptophan.