Sleep and Brain Healthy One-Day Meal Plan: MIND Diet
The MIND diet, renowned for promoting brain health as we age, also reveals another facet of its impact—benefiting your sleep quality. Recent research has established a connection between strong adherence to the MIND dietary pattern and enhanced sleep quality.1 The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties not only contribute to preventing cognitive impairment but also play a vital role in addressing sleep disorders. Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are widespread issues with lasting impacts on day-to-day life, significantly affecting brain and cognitive health. The brain, in particular, relies on adequate sleep to process information gathered throughout the day and form new memories.2
How can we practically apply the principles of these diets to promote better sleep quality and lifelong brain health?
Embarking on a complete dietary overhaul overnight may seem daunting for many individuals. Nevertheless, the key lies in embracing small changes that can be seamlessly integrated into our eating habits over time. By taking gradual steps, we can foster a sustainable approach to enhance our diet and support our brain and sleep health for years to come.
Nutrients and Foods to Focus on For Better Sleep and Brain Health
Here are a few core nutrients linked to better sleep from the MIND diet to incorporate in your diet today:
- Magnesium: Found in beans and nuts, is associated with better sleep quality and the recommended sleep duration of 7–9 hours.3
- L-Theanine: Found in green tea, is linked to promoting good quality sleep through anxiolysis (the reduction of anxiety).4
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in fatty fish like salmon, has direct and indirect roles in sleep regulation. Its deficiency has been linked to sleep disorders, emphasizing the importance of maintaining adequate levels.5
- Polyphenols: Like flavonoids and found in berries, have been found to lower sleep disturbances, greater total sleep duration, and enhanced sleep quality.6
- Omega 3’s DHA/EPA: Found in fatty fish like mackeral and sardines, has been associated with a significant decrease in sleep fragmentation and a notable increase in sleep efficiency.7
- Vitamin E: Found in nuts like almonds, may improve sleep quality, with specific benefits observed, especially in postmenopausal women.8
Are you prepared to elevate your brain health and nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods while prioritizing better sleep and sleep health? Explore the sample one-day menu below as a starting point. This plan is designed to provide an example of adhering to the MIND diet for a day. Feel free to substitute some snacks or meals with choices from below to ensure a well-rounded intake of brain and sleep nourishing nutrients.
Sample One-Day Meal Plan for Sleep and Brain Healthy Eating:
Breakfast: Cherry and chocolate almond smoothie (or overnight oats).
Cherries are rich in melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep-wake cycles.
Snack: A slice of whole grain toast with almond butter spread.
Almonds are packed with magnesium, and vitamin E, and a healthy source of fats and protein for quality sleep and brain health.
The vibrant greens in this salad, are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, while other vegetables add quercetin, overall supporting healthy cognitive function.
Snack: Steamed edamame with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Edamame is also rich in magnesium, which helps regulate neurotransmitters and melatonin production.
Salmon provides a good source of omega-3's DHA/EPA and vitamin D. Kimchi and miso offer sleep-supportive benefits through their probiotic content, supportive of a healthy gut microbiome, with emerging research suggests a strong connection between gut health and sleep.9
Remember that every step you take towards embracing a brain-healthy diet is a stride towards better brain health and improved sleep health. Begin by making small changes, gradually incorporating more as you feel comfortable. Every effort you make contributes to enhancing not only your brain health and sleep quality.
For additional tips and helpful checklist to keep you on track sleep healthy habits download our free e-guide “The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Good Night of Sleep."
- Rostami, H., Parastouei, K., Samadi, M. et al. Adherence to the MIND dietary pattern and sleep quality, sleep related outcomes and mental health in male adults: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychiatry 22, 167 (2022).
- Eugene AR, Jolanta Masiak. The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep. MEDtube Sci. 2015;3(1):35-40.
- Yijia Zhang, Cheng Chen, Liping Lu, Kristen L Knutson, Mercedes R Carnethon, Alyce D Fly, Juhua Luo, David M Haas, James M Shikany, Ka Kahe, Association of magnesium intake with sleep duration and sleep quality: findings from the CARDIA study, Sleep, Volume 45, Issue 4, April 2022, zsab276, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsab276
- Rao, Theertham P et al. “In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 34,5 (2015): 436-47. doi:10.1080/07315724.2014.926153
- Romano, Fiammetta et al. “Vitamin D and Sleep Regulation: Is there a Role for Vitamin D?.” Current pharmaceutical design vol. 26,21 (2020): 2492-2496. doi:10.2174/1381612826666200310145935
- Rostami, H., Parastouei, K., Samadi, M. et al. Adherence to the MIND dietary pattern and sleep quality, sleep related outcomes and mental health in male adults: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychiatry 22, 167 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-022-03816-3
- Patan, Michael J et al. “Differential Effects of DHA- and EPA-Rich Oils on Sleep in Healthy Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 13,1 248. 16 Jan. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13010248
- Thongchumnum, Wirun et al. “Effect of Vitamin E Supplementation on Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Postmenopausal Women: A Prospective, Double-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 15,5 1187. 27 Feb. 2023, doi:10.3390/nu15051187
- Li, Yuanyuan et al. “The Role of Microbiome in Insomnia, Circadian Disturbance and Depression.” Frontiers in psychiatry vol. 9 669. 5 Dec. 2018, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00669
- Survey conducted by NeuroReserve in March 2022.