If you have trouble falling/ staying asleep during the night, the culprit might be your choice to eat and drink. There’s a connection between nutrition and sleep. Dietary habits are considered a leading behavioural risk factor for human health. Moreover, growing scientific evidence suggests that diet and sleep may be related.
Eating habits may be crucial for quality sleep. Learn how your food choices and meal timing make a difference. If you have sleep issues, feel free to consult ibuyalprazolam. It’s important to remember that what and when you eat and drink impacts energy and can impact your sleep quality and duration. So when considering your diet choices, consider that your sleep duration and quality can also influence your dietary habits and behaviour.
Diet is one of the pillars of health; our diets are an essential foundation of healthy sleep. However, cultivating eating habits that are healthy for you, and support good nightly rest, is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. There is no single diet that is appropriate for sleep. Also, a broad range of foods fit well in a sleep-promoting diet.
How does sleep influence nutrition?
- Appetite control
Sleep is vital in regulating the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. Inadequate sleep results in an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin – a combination that makes you hungrier. Consequently, poor sleep can lead to excessive food intake and an increased desire for more carbohydrate-type meals.
- Dietary behaviours and choices
The quality and duration of our sleep also influence our food decisions. Research demonstrates increased eating for food reward, reduced restraint when sleep-deprived, and increased desire for highly-processed, nutrient-poor food choices.
- Carbohydrate metabolism
Poor sleep negatively influences the breakdown of glucose (the simplest form of carbohydrate) and increases insulin sensitivity. This has strong indications in chronic diseases like diabetes and weight gain.
Foods to Avoid
Fatty or high-protein foods
As digestion slows when we sleep, going to bed soon after eating a steak dinner or other high-protein foods might disrupt sleep since our stomach may feel uncomfortable and full. Likewise, foods high in saturated fats have a similar disruptive effect on our sleep patterns. High-protein foods like steak and chicken also disrupt sleep as they require a long time to break down, a problem at bedtime since digestion slows up to 50 % when we sleep.
Spicy foods also cause painful heartburn, making it difficult to lie comfortably and more challenging to fall asleep. Heartburn may also worsen the effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), as the backed-up acid creates more irritation in your airway. Moreover, research shows that consuming red pepper increases the core body temperature, which is disruptive since the core body temperature naturally drops during sleep.
Drinking caffeine late in the evening has long been a potential sleep disrupter for many people since it’s a stimulant to keep us alert. But be aware that caffeine may be hidden in other foods, such as chocolate and ice cream, so always check the ingredients.
Having a glass of beer or wine at dinner may be a pleasurable experience, but not so much when you are ready to sleep. Once the effects of alcohol wear off, you will likely wake suddenly and struggle to go back to restful sleep. Alcohol can also worsen OSA symptoms.
Research proves that healthy people who drink alcohol fall asleep quickly and sleep more deeply at first. However, when the alcohol wears off, it can wake people during crucial and restorative stages of sleep. Alcohol may also worsen sleep apnea symptoms and, if consumed regularly, increase your likelihood of sleepwalking, sleep talking and memory problems.
Foods to Choose
If you want a snack before bedtime, consider complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or whole-wheat toast, which digest quickly. Consuming a high-fibre diet with vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and low-fat proteins while avoiding foods with added sugars is ideal. In addition, look for foods high in B vitamins. B vitamins help regulate melatonin. Foods rich in B vitamins are eggs, lean poultry, fish, meat, legumes, and dairy.
A healthy diet also helps you lose weight, leading to better sleep and making you less likely to have daytime fatigue, insomnia, and OSA. A healthy diet consists of regular, high-quality protein doses, adequate carbohydrates, small amounts of healthy fats daily, and a high/varied intake of fresh produce.
Protein is a natural sleep aid. Among the benefits of sleep, protein-rich foods may be a source of tryptophan, an amino acid our body needs to produce the sleep-facilitating hormone melatonin. In addition, consuming a larger share of protein can help with nighttime satiety, suppresses hunger hormones, and allow more sustained rest overnight.
High-fibre diets may help us achieve more profound, restorative rest. Fibre-rich diets have been associated with less time spent in light sleep and more time spent in slow-wave sleep, the deep, highly refreshing sleep stage during which the body undertakes significant cellular rejuvenation and repair.
This essential mineral has powerful benefits for sleep. Magnesium calms the nervous system and relaxes muscles. In addition, it’s involved in regulating the “sleep hormone” melatonin and helping the body maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D, which facilitates more restful high-quality sleep. Magnesium also supports healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
Vitamin D helps regulate the circadian clock, controls daily sleep-wake cycles, and promotes longer and more restful sleep. Conversely, insufficient Vitamin D levels have been linked to short sleep duration and restless sleep.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These polyunsaturated fatty acids are known as essential fats. Our bodies do not produce omega 3s. We must get them from dietary sources, such as supplements.
It’s essential not to overlook hydration when fueling healthy sleep. Water is a macronutrient, and staying hydrated throughout the day is vital to sleeping well at night. There’s a two-way street here: dehydration can negatively impact sleep, and poor sleep can make us more hydrated.
Good eating habits go hand in hand with getting a good night’s sleep for a healthier you. In addition, healthy eating habits overall will encourage healthier sleeping patterns.