Changes in fruit and vegetable consumption in relation to changes in sleep characteristics over a 3-month period among young adults

Sleep Health. 2021 Jun;7(3):345-352. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2021.02.005. Epub 2021 Apr 8.


Objective: To evaluate whether increases in fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption were associated with concomitant changes in insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, and quality.

Design: Secondary longitudinal analysis of a randomized trial, baseline to 3 months.

Setting: Integrated health care systems in Detroit, Michigan and Danville, Pennsylvania.

Participants: About 1165 young adults who were low consumers of FV (<3 servings/day) at baseline.

Intervention: Online 3-arm program designed to increase FV consumption.

Measurements: We categorized FV changes into 4 categories: no change or decrease, 1 serving increase, 2 serving increase, and 3 or more serving increase. We then compared the changes in chronic insomnia classification (yes or no), sleep duration, quality, and time to fall asleep (all self-reported) across the FV change categories. Analyses were both overall and stratified by gender, adjusting for potential confounders (depression, physical activity, education, children, and study site).

Results: Average age ± SD was 26 ± 2.8 years (71% women). At 3-month follow-up, participants on average increased FV intake by 1.2 ± 1.4 servings. Women who increased FV intake by 3+ servings showed improvements in insomnia symptoms (2-fold higher odds of improvement; 95% CI 1.1 to 3.6), sleep quality (0.2-point higher sleep quality score; 95% CI -0.01, 0.3), and time to fall asleep (4.2 minutes; 95% CI -8, 0) compared to women who did not change or decreased their FV intake. Associations were not as apparent among men.

Conclusion: Young women with low consumption of FV may experience improvements in insomnia-related sleep difficulties by increasing their consumption of FV.

Keywords: Diet; Gender differences; Insomnia; Sleep onset latency; Sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Report
  • Sleep*
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult