A Mediterranean diet protects against depression, reduces stress and is also associated with a significant improvement in sleep quality. It also makes it easier to fall asleep and reduces snoring.
In a new study, experts from Ondokuz Mayıs University examined adherence to a Mediterranean diet and its impact on sleep quality, depression, anxiety, stress and body mass index (BMI) among students. The results can be read in the specialist journal “Nutrition and Health”.
Survey of 750 students
A total of 750 students from a state university in Turkey took part in the study. The team used a survey to collect socio-demographic data as well as weight and height of the participants.
The Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for Children and Adolescents (KIDMED), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale-42 (DASS-42) were used to measure adherence and impact of the Mediterranean diet, explain the researchers.
Mediterranean diet reduces depression
A majority of the participants showed poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet, reports the team. Significant differences were also found when comparing people with poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet and those with good adherence.
For example, according to the researchers, participants who adhered to a Mediterranean diet showed lower depression scores in the subsequent test.
Additionally, according to the experts, better adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with lower levels of stress in both male and female participants. Women who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet also had fewer sleep disorders.
Another study also indicates positive effects of the Mediterranean diet on sleep. It shows that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet sleep better than those who eat a less healthy diet
The study used the so-called MedDietScore to measure how well the participants adhered to the Mediterranean diet. In addition, questionnaires were used to determine the quality of the participants’ sleep and how long they normally slept per night.
Better sleep thanks to a Mediterranean diet
The experts found that older participants who ate a predominantly Mediterranean diet had better sleep quality, but did not sleep longer than participants who paid less attention to a Mediterranean diet.
Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet also led participants to fall asleep more easily, snore less, and woke up less often because of shortness of breath or headaches, the team adds.
Far-reaching benefits of the Mediterranean diet
In summary, following a Mediterranean diet can also have beneficial effects on depression, stress and sleep quality. Not only physical health but also mental health could benefit significantly from appropriate nutritional interventions. (as)