Skip to main content

Have you ever had to deal with a snoring partner? If so, instead of sleeping in separate bedrooms, a recent study has suggested that switching to a plant-based diet may help to address the snoring and lead to a better night’s rest.

Snoring May Be A Sign of a Sleep Disorder

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder affecting around a billion adults globally. The risks for the condition, which causes the upper airways to become blocked during sleep, and reduce or completely stop breathing, include being male, being obese, having large tonsils, or changes in hormone levels.

OSA can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, and its symptoms include snoring, breathing that starts and stops, gasping for air during sleep, daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, headaches, and sexual dysfunction or decreased libido.

To better understand the link between dietary habits and obstructive sleep apnea, a group of researchers analyzed the data of 14,210 people who had taken part in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants provided information on everything they had eaten over the last 24 hours. Using that information, the participants were then placed into one of three categories:

  • A healthy plant-based diet, which included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, tea, and coffee
  • A diet that focused more on food derived from animals, including dairy, eggs, fish, seafood, meat, and animal fat
  • An unhealthy plant-based diet that included lots of highly processed foods, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened drinks, sweets, desserts, and salty foods

Addressing the gap

Following this, the participants then completed a questionnaire that queried if they had OSA by asking about several factors, including snoring, tiredness, blood pressure, body mass index, age, gender, and waist circumference.

“There’s a gap in our knowledge of how overall dietary patterns affect OSA risk,” said lead researcher Yohannes Melaku, from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

“With this study, we wanted to address that gap and explore the association between different types of plant-based diets and the risk of OSA.”

Snore Less With Plant-Based Eating

The findings of the study, published in ERJ Open Research, found that participants who followed a healthy plant-based diet faced a 19 percent reduced risk of obstructive sleep apnea, while those on an unhealthy plant-based diet faced a 22 percent higher risk for OSA compared to those eating the lowest amounts of those foods.

The researchers also noted that compared to men, women had a lower risk of OSA if they followed a healthy plant-based diet, yet they had a higher risk compared to men if they ate an unhealthy plant-based diet. 

“Our study highlights the significance of a plant-based diet in potentially reducing the risk of obstructive sleep apnea,”Yohannes Melaku, PhD,

Why Does Plant-Based Eating Prevent Snoring?

Speaking on the findings, Melaku believes that a plant-based diet can reduce inflammation and body mass index (BMI), thus reducing OSA risk,

“It could be that a healthy plant-based diet reduces inflammation and obesity. These are key factors in OSA risk,” Melaku theorized.

“Diets rich in anti-inflammatory components and antioxidants, and low in harmful dietary elements, can influence fat mass, inflammation, and even muscle tone, all of which are relevant to OSA risk.”

Better Eating For Better Sleep

While more research is needed to confirm the latest findings, there are plenty of benefits associated with following a plant-based diet,

“Being aware that incorporating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains into our diet while minimizing the consumption of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks can greatly improve our overall health,” said Prof. Sophia Schiza, the head of the European Respiratory Society’s assembly on sleep-disordered breathing,

“We need to make it as easy as possible for everyone to adopt a healthy diet.”,

Want to know more?

In many cultures around the world, sleeping on the floor is a common practice, and it’s often preferred to sleeping on the bed.

Here are 5 reasons you should start sleeping on the floor.

References

Melaku, Y.A., Zhao, L., Adams, R. and Eckert, D.J. (2024). Plant-based and vegetarian diets are associated with reduced obstructive sleep apnoea risk. ERJ Open Research. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.1183/23120541.00739-2023.

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Marius Pirvu/Shutterstock

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a journalist graduate and writer, specializing in health, beauty, and wellness. She also has a passion for poetry, equality, and natural hair. Identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to provide the latest information on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle and leave a more equitable society behind.

Longevity Live is a digital publisher AND DOES NOT OFFER PERSONAL HEALTH OR MEDICAL ADVICE. IF YOU’RE FACING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES IMMEDIATELY, OR VISIT THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER. YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE STARTING ANY NUTRITION, DIET, EXERCISE, FITNESS, MEDICAL, OR WELLNESS PROGRAM.

This content, developed through collaboration with licensed medical professionals and external contributors, including text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, procedure, or treatment, whether it is a prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, vitamin, supplement, or herbal alternative.

Longevity Live makes no guarantees about the efficacy or safety of products or treatments described in any of our posts. Any information on supplements, related services and drug information contained in our posts are subject to change and are not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Longevity does not recommend or endorse any specific test, clinician, clinical care provider, product, procedure, opinion, service, or other information that may be mentioned on Longevity’s websites, apps, and Content.

Leave a Reply