Eat your way to better sleep – in just four weeks
- The pioneer of the 5:2 diet, Dr Michael Mosley, has a new plan to get you snoozing like a baby
A gut-friendly, Mediterranean-style diet, rich in foods that support and encourage healthy bacteria, could be the answer to sleeplessness
We have long known that the classic Mediterranean diet is great for your health, but studies now show that a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit, oily fish, beans, pulses and olive oil is also an important weapon in the battle against insomnia.
Dream dinner: chicken and veg traybake. These recipes are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants
One likely reason is the diet’s effect on the microbiome – the trillions of microbes that live in our guts. The Mediterranean diet boosts levels of your ‘good’ gut bacteria, and the latest studies show gut bacteria play an important role in deciding whether you sleep fitfully or well.
So I have devised a multifaceted insomnia plan which, for the first time, combines common-sense guidance about sleep hygiene and expert instruction in the powerfully effective technique of ‘sleep restriction’ with dietary advice designed to boost your health. It also enhances the natural power of your gut bacteria to aid sleep.
‘Good’ gut bacteria play an important role in deciding whether you sleep fitfully or well
All next week the Daily Mail will be serialising my latest book, Fast Asleep: How to Get a Really Good Night’s Rest, with four-page pullouts which detail my brilliant four-week insomnia cure. Central to the plan’s success is adopting the principles of the Mediterranean diet – a process made deliciously easy thanks to the recipes created for the book by my wife, the GP and YOU columnist Dr Clare Bailey, working closely with Justine Pattison, one of the UK’s leading healthy-eating recipe writers.
These recipes are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants which will boost your health and mood to aid good sleep. It’s also a perfect diet for your microbiome – microbes which are known to produce important sleep-inducing brain chemicals.
The pioneer of the 5:2 diet, Dr Michael Mosley, has a new plan to get you snoozing like a baby
Research shows that people with the most diverse microbiomes have the best-quality sleep. And the good news is you can swiftly alter the mix of microbes that live in your gut by changing what you eat. By avoiding sugar and junk food you can starve out ‘bad’ bacteria, and by filling your plate with delicious vegetables, pulses and wholegrains you will create the best possible environment for ‘good’ bacteria to thrive.
Oily fish (such as mackerel and salmon), nuts and seeds will boost your intake of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but you can further enhance the snooze-inducing power of your gut bacteria by eating prebiotic foods which contain non-digestible plant fibre that acts like fertiliser to encourage growth of the ‘good’ bacteria. You’ll get an extra boost of prebiotic fibre in the oats, onion, leeks, chicory and pulses in these recipes and you can help repopulate your microbiome with fermented probiotic foods such as kimchi and pickled onions.
Buy the book with a 40% discount
Fast Asleep: How to Get a Really Good Night’s Rest by Michael Mosley is published by Short Books, price £9.99. To order a copy for £5.99 with free p&p until 30 April, go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.
Food photographs: Alex Smith. Food styling: Phil Mundy