Adhering more closely to dietary guidelines was associated with lower incidence of problems falling asleep and staying asleep for women ages 68 to 73 living in Australia.
Of the nearly 8,000 participants, just over 70 percent reported having at least one symptom of sleep disturbance, and just over 20 percent had three to five symptoms. While overall adherence to dietary guidelines was poor, dietary intake closer to the guidelines was associated with fewer sleep disturbances.
The authors point out that this association goes both ways: high intake of energy-dense ‘junk’ foods have been associated with poorer sleep quality, and poor-quality sleep has been linked with increased intake of energy-dense foods.
Poor sleep is associated with increased risk of developing chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and, in older adults, depression and cognitive decline (particularly in women). Note that women who adhere to a healthier dietary pattern may have other characteristics that support better sleep, such as being physically active.