Home Medizin Studie zeigt, dass pflanzliche Proteine ​​die Ruhe verbessern, tierische Proteine ​​können sie stören

Studie zeigt, dass pflanzliche Proteine ​​die Ruhe verbessern, tierische Proteine ​​können sie stören

von NFI Redaktion

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that protein intake from plant sources can improve sleep quality. In contrast, increased intake of animal proteins can worsen sleep quality.

Study: Protein Intake and its Association with Sleep Quality: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. Image Source: sivaleela. v / Shutterstock.com

How Does Diet Affect Sleep?

A good night’s sleep is necessary for a healthy life. During sleep, metabolic rate, blood circulation, hormone secretion, and immune-regulating functions undergo changes that are essential for maintaining body homeostasis.

An adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep per day to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and mortality. However, there has been a significant decrease in sleep duration in the general population in recent decades, with many individuals reporting difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, frequent awakenings at night, and early morning awakenings. The prevalence of both sleep disorders and sleep disturbances has also increased, leading to daytime dysfunction and an increased incidence of numerous chronic diseases.

Poor dietary quality characterized by higher intake of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods can affect sleep quality and duration. Studies have provided mixed results regarding the impact of protein intake on sleep quality, which may be due to different ratios of specific amino acids in different protein sources.

About the Study

In the current study, researchers examined the influence of total protein intake and intake from different protein sources on sleep quality. Data on food intake and sleep quality measurements were collected from three ongoing prospective cohort studies among US health professionals, including the Nurses‘ Health Study (NHS), NHS2, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS).

In these cohort studies, participants‘ food intake was assessed every four years using validated food frequency questionnaires. Sleep quality was evaluated using the original or modified version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

Data from a total of 32,212 and 51,126 women from the NHS and NHS2 studies, respectively, as well as 14,796 men from the HPFS, were analyzed to determine the relationship between protein intake and sleep quality.

Key Observations

In all three cohorts, participants with the highest protein intake had a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and a higher prevalence of existing health conditions compared to participants with the lowest protein intake. Over 65% of study participants reported sleeping seven to eight hours per night.

5–6% of study participants reported regularly taking sleep medications. The presence of sleep apnea was more common in participants with the highest protein intake, with higher prevalence of this condition observed in men compared to women.

Participants with better sleep quality were associated with slightly lower BMIs, higher physical activity, better dietary quality, higher alcohol intake, and fewer pre-existing conditions. In comparison, those reporting higher consumption of animal protein were more likely to have higher BMIs, lower physical activity, and more pre-existing conditions. These factors were more favorable in participants with higher intake of plant proteins.

Relationship Between Protein Intake and Sleep Quality

The current study did not find a significant relationship between total protein intake and sleep quality. While overall animal protein intake was not associated with sleep quality, higher intake of plant protein was linked to better sleep quality.

Among different animal protein sources, there were varying associations with milk protein intake. While no association was observed between milk protein intake and sleep quality in the NHS and HPFS cohorts, a positive relationship was observed in the NHS2 cohort.

Consumption of processed and unprocessed red meats and poultry was associated with poorer sleep quality among the different meat sources. This relationship was not observed with fish consumption.


The current study did not establish a significant association between total protein intake and sleep quality in men and women; however, a positive association was observed between plant protein intake and sleep quality. After adjusting for potential confounders, this association was less pronounced in men and weak in women.

Protein-rich plant sources are often rich in carbohydrates and fiber, both of which have been shown to improve sleep quality. In contrast, processed red meats and poultry, which have higher fat content, can also lead to poorer sleep quality, as observed in the current study.

Journal Reference:

  • Wirth, J., Lin, K., Brennan, L., et al. (2024). Protein Intake and its Association with Sleep Quality: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.1038/s41430-024-01414-y.

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