Year Published: 2022
by Egeria Scoditti 1, *ORCID, Maria Rosaria Tumolo 2 and Sergio Garbarino
The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based, antioxidant-rich, unsaturated fat dietary pattern that has been consistently associated with lower rates of noncommunicable diseases and total mortality, so that it is considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns. Clinical trials and mechanistic studies have demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet and its peculiar foods and nutrients exert beneficial effects against inflammation, oxidative stress, dysmetabolism, vascular dysfunction, adiposity, senescence, cognitive decline, neurodegeneration, and tumorigenesis, thus preventing age-associated chronic diseases and improving wellbeing and health. Nocturnal sleep is an essential physiological function, whose alteration is associated with health outcomes and chronic diseases. Scientific evidence suggests that diet and sleep are related in a bidirectional relationship, and the understanding of this association is important given their role in disease prevention. In this review, we surveyed the literature concerning the current state of evidence from epidemiological studies on the impact of the Mediterranean diet on nighttime sleep quantity and quality.
The available studies indicate that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with adequate sleep duration and with several indicators of better sleep quality. Potential mechanisms mediating the effect of the Mediterranean diet and its foods and nutrients on sleep are described, and gap-in-knowledge and new research agenda to corroborate findings are discussed.