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Sleep. 2018 Nov 1;41(11). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy158.

Mediterranean diet pattern and sleep duration and insomnia symptoms in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

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Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Boston University, Boston, MA.
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, MN.
Department of Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY.
Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY.


Sleep duration and sleep quality are important predictors of risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). One potential link between sleep health and CVD is through lifestyle factors such as diet. To clarify the association between diet and sleep, we assessed the associations of sleep duration and insomnia symptoms with current Mediterranean-style diet (aMed) and with historical changes in aMed score. Actigraphy-measured sleep duration and self-reported insomnia symptoms categorized as insomnia with short sleep (<6 hr/night), insomnia without short sleep, no insomnia with short sleep, and no insomnia or short sleep were obtained from 2068 individuals who also had dietary intake data. A 10-point aMed score, derived from a self-report food frequency questionnaire, was collected concurrently with the sleep assessment and 10 years before. Compared with individuals who currently reported a low aMed score, those with a moderate-high aMed score were more likely to sleep 6-7 vs. <6 hr/night (p < 0.01) and less likely to report insomnia symptoms occurring with short sleep (vs. no insomnia or short sleep alone; p < 0.05). An increase in aMed score over the preceding 10 years was not associated with sleep duration or insomnia symptoms. However, compared with those with decreasing aMed score, individuals with an unchanging score reported fewer insomnia symptoms (p ≤ 0.01). These results suggest that a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with adequate sleep duration, less insomnia symptoms, and less likely to have insomnia accompanied by short sleep. Further research should identify possible mediators through which diet may promote adequate sleep duration and reduce the risk of insomnia.

[Available on 2019-08-22]

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