Categories: Featured, News

by Sina Smith


Categories: Featured, News

by Sina Smith


Eat Plants for Better Sleep?

I was reading this article the other day and thought you might be interested to learn about it.

In a study that involved almost 100,000 people, eating animal protein–especially red meat–was associated with poorer sleep quality. Eating plant-based proteins was associated with better sleep or had no association.

Now it’s a bit tricky to interpret this. “Association” means that the two things are happening at the same time, but it does not mean one is causing the other. So we can say that people who ate red meat slept more poorly than those that ate animal protein, but we can’t say that red meat caused people to sleep poorly.

When you are looking at large numbers of people like in this study, “associations” tend to be the first thing that gets the attention of scientists. The researchers then start to look for the cause-effect types of relationships in the subsequent studies.

Logically and intuitively, it makes sense to me that eating more plants would help with sleep, but we can’t say there is a scientific basis for the relationship (yet).

If you are a meat eater, I’m pretty sure you’ve felt that heavy feeling in your stomach from eating too much meat too close to bedtime. That heavy feeling is the effort that your gut is making to try to break down the dense protein that has no fiber in it. It has to work really hard!

Plant proteins are easier for the body to break down, so if your body has already broken down the food in your stomach (which takes ~2 hours) before you sleep, your body is prepared for regeneration. It doesn’t have to put its resources into digestive juices and squishing the food around. You can focus your resources on sleep.

So if you are having a hard time sleeping, go for a complete protein made up of a combination of whole grains + legumes (beans, peas, and pulses). This gives you all the amino acids you need but is easier to break down–and gives you more fiber (bonus!).

And tell me how your “study of one” with sleep and protein choice works out the next time we see each other!

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