“Veganuary” going beyond January is becoming increasingly popular, predominantly because many people are reaping the benefits of going vegan and wishing to continue this new diet. A vegan diet offers so many benefits with the main one being overall improved health and well-being, but did you know that going vegan can also help you sleep?
Here Martin Seeley,sleep expert and CEO of Mattressnextday, reveals how switching to a vegan diet can improve your sleep quality.
1. You sleep more soundly.
“Opting for a vegan diet can also help you to sleep more soundly and enjoy an uninterrupted, deep sleep, which is imperative to maintain normal bodily functions. There are a number of reasons why, first of all, vegan foods typically have lower levels of sugar, so are easy to digest which means you aren’t susceptible to digestive issues whilst you sleep such as stomach pains, bloating and digestion.
A vegan diet also includes lots of fiber, and this is important for keeping your glucose levels balanced, this then contributes to a better quality of sleep and allows you to experience less broken sleep.”
2. You fall asleep much quicker.
“If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, then trying a vegan diet, or taking up Veganuary might help with this. The reason being is that the vitamin B12 can be found in many leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, beetroot, and lettuce salad leaves, and this vitamin is key for regulating that all important sleep-wake cycle, which means that eating these types of foods which are staples in a vegan diet can help you to feel tired and sleepy at night and alert during the day.
Furthermore, digesting high levels of B12 could also mean you are less likely to suffer insomnia, therefore having a better quality of sleep. Some non-vegan foods which offer high levels of B12 are meats and fish, so it’s important to ensure that you are substituting these foods with alternatives such as plant based meats, fortified cereals, and other replacement foods.”
3. You experience less vivid dreams.
“Experience vivid dreams or night terrors? Then you may want to switch to a vegan diet! This is because experiencing vivid dreams is often associated with an amino acid called tryptophan which is then converted into serotonin and can promote vivid dreams. Tryptophan is commonly found in foods such as milk, eggs, cheese, lamb, and fish, and so if you go vegan you are less likely to experience such dreams.”
4. Your mood is improved which will help you sleep.
“Having a vegan diet can also improve your mood, which is a great reason to try Veganuary this year, especially when January can be rather grey and depressing. Many studies have shown that those who suffer with mood disorders are more likely to experience insomnia and broken sleep, and a poor sleep can then impact your mood even more and make you feel irritable, low, and depressed. So, by adjusting your diet to help boost energy levels and mood, you are also improving your chances of getting a good night’s sleep and improving your overall sleep quality. Vegan diets commonly include mood boosting ingredients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B which all help to lower stress levels and boost mood, allowing for a more restful night’s sleep.”
5. There will be less night time aches and pains.
“Of course, investing in an orthopaedic mattress can help reduce any pain linked to arthritis or joint pain, but switching to a vegan diet can also have a number of benefits to your sleep quality. A vegan diet is full of antioxidants, fiber, and probiotics which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and help ease any joint stiffness. Furthermore, a plant based diet can also remove those trigger foods that can actually worsen pain from arthritis such as processed red meats which often have added sugars.”
How can you maintain a vegan diet?
“Often it’s quite difficult to go completely cold turkey (excuse the pun) with Veganuary, and you may want to start off with a vegetarian diet and then increase to vegan, however once you get to grips with the right foods and understand how to incorporate these foods and ingredients into your diet and meals, it should get easier. I suggest trying to incorporate as many plant-based meals into your diet as you can, while still listening to what your body needs.
If you’re cooking just for yourself, you might find it easier to stick to a vegan diet, but if you are cooking for your family you may find it harder – perhaps start with simple dishes or replace your usual meat dishes with vegan meat replacement options.”
By switching to a vegan diet, you should see an improvement in your sleep-wake cycle. However, of course, you should also ensure other areas of your life are looked at to help with your sleep routine, including exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and getting fresh air, as well as of course choosing a supportive mattress and pillows which will promote a good sleep.”
This article was written by Anabel Cooper and originally published on Your Coffee Break.