Sleep Improvements with the Mediterranean Diet

Okay, it’s clear that I am a fan of the Mediterranean Diet…it’s more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle approach, and one that I can support.  Yes, I even co-authored the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies.  Thus, it’s always exciting to see supportive research come out using the Mediterranean Diet.  Are you familiar with sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) causes frequent pauses of breathing to occur during sleep, which disrupts a person’s normal sleeping pattern. It is one of the most prevalent sleep-related breathing disorders with approximately 2-4% of the adult population experiencing the condition. This percentage increases up to 20-40% with obesity, and weight loss is often an essential part of the recommended treatment plan.

For a lot of musicians sleep apnea can wreak havoc on your performances. If sleep is disturbed your entire day and stage performance can be negatively effected.  Good news, a recent study out of Greece showed a positive impact on sleep apnea when people followed a Mediterranean Diet and included physical activity:

The results showed that people following the Mediterranean diet had a reduced number of disturbances, known as apneas, during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, which usually accounts for approximately 25% of total sleep during the night.

The findings also revealed that people following the Mediterranean diet also showed a greater adherence to the calorie restricted diet, an increase in physical activity and a greater decrease in abdominal fat.

Check out Science Daily for more details.  (Source)

Think following a Mediterranean Diet is too challenging on the road?  Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption to 3-5 cups per day. Store frozen bags of veggies in the bus freezer and add to each meal or get double veggies on your next Subway sandwich!
  • Eat more fish!  Nope, not the fried variety–opt for grilled or baked, but even the canned varieties work.
  • Bean it up!  Toss in canned beans where ever you can, in salads, on sandwiches (hummus), dip veggies in them, or sneak them into your burgers & meatballs at home! They pack protein and fiber!
  • Yes, pasta is consumed, but merely 1 cup at a time so keep those pasta dishes to a side!
  • Enjoy a glass of red wine or Welch’s grape juice, a small 6-8oz per day is shown to be healthy!
  • Carry hummus (just add water) and tabbouleh (just add water) on tour for a quick and easy side dish, main dish, or snack! Check them out on Amazon!
When was the last time you had a meal that looked like this?  Spruce up those veggies, y’all!
Need more ideas?  Here’s a tip sheet from my book to help you get started and make a grocery list before you head out on the road!
It’s a great way to start living, not just a diet!
Eat well~


 Just Wendy Jo

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