How Can a Healthy Diet Enhance the Quality of Sleep in Senior Citizens?

How Can a Healthy Diet Enhance the Quality of Sleep in Senior Citizens?

Every aspect of our well-being is interconnected, so much so that even the daily activities we do impact it. This rings true even as we age, so it’s definitely important for seniors, especially those looking for assisted living near me, to be mindful of these factors. In this post, you’ll see the specific connection between their diet and the quality of sleep they get as well as how healthy meals, in particular, can improve the latter. 

Studies Have Already Proven that Diet Is Directly Associated with Sleep Quality

The studies, to be exact, focused on specific diet patterns that they encouraged among their participants. For instance, they conducted independent tests on low-carb and high-carb diets with high-carb plus low-fat variations. Some studies even established whether a notable change in fat and carbohydrate intake can impact slow-wave sleep and REM sleep.

The results are interesting, to say the least, as they arrived at the following conclusions:

  • People, regardless of age, tend to have poorer sleep if they continue to adopt a high-carb diet.
  • The more calories you consume in a single day, the more likely you’ll experience daytime sleepiness.
  • Limiting your saturated fat intake may boost your sleep quality. 
  • Certain kinds of fruits, particularly kiwi and cherry juice, have been found to decrease the negative impacts of insomnia on most adults.
  • If we’re going for a nutrient-level approach, it’s been found that vitamins C, A, K, D, and E are all important for improving sleep. Calcium and magnesium are just as vital.
  • Food and beverages that have been found to boost sleep quality are ideally taken an hour before bedtime to ensure the best sleep results. 

Are There Specific Diets that Improve Sleep?

The answer is a resounding yes! There are diet patterns in the world that definitely adopt a low-carb model with plenty of vegetables, fruits, Omega-3-rich fish, and nuts. Want a clue? Well, is it any wonder why nutritionists tend to gush over the Mediterranean diet?

  • The same studies mentioned above have confirmed that the said type of diet has a direct, positive impact on the quality of sleep that people get. Surveys in regions where the Mediterranean diet is the staple have since proven that people tend to suffer from fewer insomnia symptoms. 
  • If you’re a senior living facility manager, on the other hand, now is certainly the best time to start adding more of this type of diet to your senior nutrition plan. 
  • Another type of diet worth checking out is the DASH diet since according to most surveys conducted in the past, people who closely followed it experience better overall sleep. 

These are the reasons why if you’re still undecided in your search for senior living near me, don’t forget about the role of the said diet on your sleep. If you’re an Ohio resident looking for assisted living facilities in Madison, a Saybrook senior living community, or senior living in Chagrin Falls and want to prioritize sleep quality, ask each facility whether they incorporate more of the fundamental ingredients of the Mediterranean diet or DASH diet in their meal plans. 

Certain Types of Food and Drinks that Have Been to Boost the Sleep Quality of the Elderly 

Did you know that there are also specific types of food and beverages whose effects on sleep are directly related to one’s age? We’ve already mentioned some types of fruit above. The others we mentioned here should also be on your radar soon enough, considering the promising findings that they have with regards to improving older adults’ forty winks. 

  • Malted Milk

This is definitely interesting since people have instinctively associated better sleep with milk. In this particular case, we’re referring to malted milk. This is because according to a study conducted on it, it has actually been found to increase the sleep duration and overall sleep quality of older adults while reducing their sleep interruptions at the same time. Interestingly enough, the same profound effects are not that evident among younger people.

Part of the assumption of the people involved in the research posits that the effect happens because people tend to produce less melatonin as they age. Malted milk manages to bring about these effects presumably because of its ability to relax the body and impart vital nutrients for sleep.

  • Fatty Fish

It’s already been established by research that our body’s ability to produce melatonin and serotonin, vital hormones of sleep regulation, declines as we age. It will definitely need all the help it can get to produce the said hormones the more our bodies age. 

Well, it just so happens that nutrients abundant in fatty fish like omega-3, vitamin D, and B6 play a big role in the body’s serotonin and melatonin production. In fact, the extra vitamin D from the fish alone has been found to already have an immense impact on the sleep efficiency of adults, including the elderly. 

  • Herbal Teas

Teas like valerian and chamomile have been considered antidotes for insomnia for a long time now. Sure, their effects know no age restrictions. However, did you know that studies conducted on seniors point to chamomile tea as a great protector of seniors against their heightened risks for anxiety and depression? 

This fact is very well worth remembering when you’re canvassing senior apartments near me and are looking over the beverages they regularly serve to the community. 

Admittedly, this list barely scrapes the surface of sleep and nutrition’s connection with age. Nonetheless, we can confirm that these are the ones that most seniors should consider adding to their staple diets if they mean to improve their sleep. 


What’s good about the facts mentioned above is that they only serve to underscore the importance of having an overall healthy diet. Again, we go back to the concept of wellness being the sum of our overall lifestyle, and this could not be truer for seniors, especially with regards to sleep. On the whole, it’s not really rocket science: take active steps in fixing your diet and the rewards will come (heavenly slumbers included).

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