Alaska Sleep Education Center

Choosing the Right Foods to Improve Your Sleep

Posted by Lewis Robinson on Feb 28, 2022 1:43:00 AM

 

Smiling couple holding canned food at supermarket

Sleep plays a pivotal role in maintaining good health. When your body doesn't get enough rest, it can lead to a host of issues, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Impaired metabolism
  • Higher risks for obesity and heart disease
  • A weakened immune system

Unfortunately, there are many factors that can inhibit deep, restful sleep. Reducing stress and building a healthy bedtime routine can help. Food also plays an important role in how well you sleep at night. What, when, and how much you choose to eat can have a direct impact on your sleep habits and patterns.

 

The Role of Carbohydrates

Your body needs some carbohydrates to use as energy throughout the day. Consuming a few carbs may even help you fall asleep faster, but eating simple carbs can actually disrupt your sleep later. Most Americans consume way too much of this nutrient, which leads to troublesome sleep patterns. A low-carb diet, such as the keto challenge, can actually help you sleep better throughout the night.

 

Inflammatory Foods

Some people have trouble sleeping because of pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter medications can help temporarily, but should not be consumed on a routine basis, as they could lead to other health problems. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a natural approach that can significantly help when it comes to relieving pain and discomfort. Avoiding processed, high-fat, and sugary foods is a good place to start. Eating plenty of fish and antioxidant-rich produce can also help.

 

Caffeine

It may feel impossible to cut coffee out of your life, but foods and drinks that are high in caffeine can significantly reduce the quality of your sleep. A cup or two in the morning should be fine for most adults, but drinking more, especially later in the day, can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Try to stop consuming caffeine at least six hours before bedtime.

Keep in mind that coffee isn't the only thing that contains this stimulant. It's also prevalent in sodas, chocolate, tea, and even chewing gum. Check the labels to make sure you aren't choosing something high in caffeine during the afternoons and evenings.

 

Alcohol Consumption

Mild to moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered acceptable for healthy individuals. However, consuming alcohol on a regular basis has little to no health benefit. Much like other carbohydrates, alcohol can help you fall asleep faster. But it also leads to inflammation, dehydration, and sometimes digestive issues, which can interrupt your sleep instead. If you have trouble sleeping at night, it could be helpful to eliminate alcohol altogether.

 

Heavy, Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can be great for your health; they boost your metabolism and can also help you feel fuller sooner. However, eating them before bed can lead to heartburn and other digestive issues, ultimately leading to poor sleep. Try to limit spicy foods to lunchtime. If you do have a spicy dinner, make sure you consume it at least four hours before laying down to rest.

 

Healthy Options for a Restful Night's Sleep

There are plenty of tasty and nutritious foods out there that can actually help you sleep better at night. Cherries are rich in natural melatonin, a hormone your body produces to help you fall and stay asleep. Kale is also rich in this nutrient, but it can be tough to digest, so give your body time to do so before bed. The omega-3's in fatty fish help your body regulate serotonin, another important component of sleep. Potassium-rich bananas can help relax tense muscles, whole foods high in tryptophan, such as turkey and dairy products, can help you fall asleep faster.

If you're having trouble sleeping through the night, take a look at your dietary habits. Write down what you eat each day and see how your choices correspond to your sleep patterns. By cutting back on carbs and inflammatory foods, you may be able to rest better while also improving your health.

If you have made changes, improving your sleep hygiene, but still have problems sleeping weel at night, call the Alaska Sleep Clinic for a free sleep consultation.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, CPAP, get better sleep, diet, nutrition, foods

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