How Your Diet Affects Your Sleep

via Huff Post UK

via Huff Post UK

In Thomas Cogan’s book The Haven of Health, he discusses the connection between foods ingested and quality of sleep in his 1584 book, and makes claims that digestive “vapors” from meat, milk, and wine create good sleep. I read about this and was literally like WTF? Meat vapors will make people sleep better? Only because this was written in 1584 AD I’ll give Mr. Cogan a pass. However, the amazing nonsense that is out there sometimes is baffling. Anyone who has tried a raw vegan diet knows that actually, the cleaner your diet gets, the more your energy skyrockets and you may finding yourself needing less sleep to feel refreshed. When I go on fully raw binders for a few days I find myself jolting up at 5:30 or 6 am and running on full throttle throughout the day. So the meat vapor thing sounds cray cray to me and luckily there’s some science to back it up. Although the term “good” sleep needs further interpretation, current research does support that diet does indeed have a direct effect on sleep patterns.

In a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, findings published in 2013, researchers identified different associations between sleep time and the types of nutrients the participants ate. The study found that very short sleepers consumed less tap water, total carbohydrates, and a compound found in red and orange foods, compared with the others. Long sleepers consumed less of a compound found in tea and chocolate, in addition to choline, which is found in eggs and some meat. Long sleepers also consumed more alcohol. In Russell Fosters TED Talk entitled “Why do we sleep?” he sums up why alcohol shouldn’t be relied upon long term to fall asleep: “alcohol doesn’t provide a biological mimic for sleep it sedates you; so it actually harms some of the neurological processing going on during memory consolidation and memory recall.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted a study in 2016, and found that eating LESS fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep. Typically a good whole food plant-based diet is full of fiber, low in saturated fats, and low in refined sugar, which will make for good sleep.

It’s not uncommon for people who have improved their diets to report that they feel energized during the day and sleep better at night. According to the study at Perelman the very short and long sleepers consumed a less varietal diet than those who were considered normal sleepers. Although there is more research needed to ascertain how changing one’s diet can change sleep patterns, according to the research study entitled, “Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity,” it is clear that not getting enough sleep can decrease the proportion of weight loss as fat by at least 55%, and can promote unhealthy dietary cravings. Thomas Cogan’s original claims that meat, milk, and alcohol contribute to “good” sleep could be reinterpreted behind the lens of current research to say that in some people those substances cause longer sleep, which doesn’t necessarily equate to the highest quality of restoration. Instead it points to the fact that their bodies’  most likely need a longer period of time to restore, process, and cleanse given the kind of food they are consuming.  -Xo Raw Girl 


American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2016, January 14). What you eat can influence how you sleep: Daily intake of fiber, saturated fat and sugar may impact sleep quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 16, 2017 from

Grandner, M., Jackson, N., Gerstner, J., & Knutson, K. (2013). Dietary nutrients associated with short and long sleep duration. Data from a nationally representative sample.Appetite, 71-80.

Foster, R. (Director) (2013, June 1). Why do we sleep?. TED Talk . Lecture conducted from TED Global.

Nedeitcheva, A.V., Kilkus, J.M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D.A., & Penev, P.D. (2010). Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Anals Of Internal Medicine. 153(7), 435-W.163.

FB Banner 1

Have you checked out my new online classes yet? In my new course, Staying Ageless 30+  you will learn about Diet Basics, Lifestyle Factors, and elements of Longevity that promote an ageless way of life.  Over the course of three modules you learn what to eliminate from your diet to stay ageless, how to ensure your body is receiving adequate nutrition, powerful detox rituals you can incorporate to increase your longevity, beauty remedies that will leave you glowing, and how to exercise effectively and get results.  In addition you will learn health lessons directly from renowned longevity and health experts that will equip you to transform your lifestyle. You can still enroll! Check out the class HERE to preview the curriculum our save your seat! -Xo



Leave a Reply