Alaska Sleep Education Center

Is Your Diet Affecting Your Sleep?

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Jul 24, 2020 11:02:00 AM


There are many things that can affect the quality of sleep that you get, and the diet that you eat is no exception. While some may think there's little connection between what they eat throughout the day and how well they sleep at night, the reality is that it can have a significant and noticeable impact when it comes to both sleep quality and duration. If you're looking for ways to improve your sleep, or are trying to get to the bottom of why you have trouble sleeping at night, taking some time to examine the connection between diet and rest could be helpful for you.

What You Eat Matters

Even if you don't see a direct connection between the cheeseburger that you ate for lunch and restless sleep at night, the truth is that they can sometimes be directly related, and if not directly, there are many other indirect ways that your diet could be impacting your sleep as well. One way that your diet has an impact is through the inflammation that it may cause. Foods that cause inflammation can make your body do extra work to deal with and heal from that inflammation, which can make it harder to sleep. Not only that, but some foods, like spicy foods for example, can be irritating to your digestive system, which can keep you up at night. Additionally, foods that are irritating or that cause inflammation can also have a negative impact on your hormone balance, which is directly related to sleep quality.

The good news is, though, that a good diet full of vitamins and minerals can combat this, and be highly beneficial when it comes to improving your sleep. Not only that, but some supplements can also be supportive of quality sleep as well. It should be noted, though, that not all supplements are created equal, so it can be a good idea to read about thrive experience before you settle on one.

When You Eat Matters

Not only does what you eat matter, but when you eat matters as well when it comes to sleep. This is because your body functions on natural rhythms, called circadian rhythms. The more that you can follow along with your body's natural rhythms, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep at night, as well as stay asleep, too. The timing of your meals and the frequency of them can either play into or play against your natural rhythms. While these rhythms may be a bit different for different people, some general guidelines for following them include eating within 2 to 3 hours of waking up, as well as avoiding eating 1 to 2 hours before you plan to go to bed.

What Foods and Drinks You Should Avoid

If you're trying to sleep more deeply at night, there are multiple foods that you should avoid, particularly late in the day. Some of these foods include greasy or oily foods, as well as foods high in fat or sugar, or that are spicy. However, while there are many foods that are not conducive to good sleep, it is often what you drink that can have the biggest impact on your ability to sleep well. In fact, one of the biggest culprits behind poor sleep is caffeine.

Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, which can be great when you want to wake yourself up in the morning, but can be disastrous for sleep when nighttime comes. What many don't realize about caffeine is that it can take hours for your body to process it, and that it can be active in your system for up to several hours after you have drank it. Although it may be difficult to avoid caffeine altogether, it can be a good idea to limit your caffeine intake, and to not drink anything caffeinated any later than the early afternoon.

In addition to caffeine, alcohol can be another big sleep disruptor. Even though some may think that a nightcap can be a good way to unwind and relax, the reality is that it could end up keeping them awake, instead. This is because alcohol has a tendency to disrupt sleep cycles. This means that while you may be able to fall asleep after drinking alcohol, it may prove difficult to stay asleep, and you might find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night. Although some may be more resistant to the effects of alcohol than others, and may be able to drink a small amount of alcohol without issues, if you really want to get restful sleep, it is often better to avoid alcohol altogether.

What To Eat for Good Sleep

When it comes to eating the right foods for good sleep, a balanced diet is key. Part of the reason for this is that a good diet reduces inflammation within your body. Inflammation can not only have a negative effect on your hormone balance and function, which can also have a big impact on sleep, but it also causes your body's stress response to flare up. When your body's stress response is activated, that means that your body will be producing higher levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones stimulate your nervous system, which can be beneficial in situations when you need to be alert, but are detrimental when you want to fall asleep at night. To reduce inflammation and the stress response in your body, it is important to eat foods that will help you do this.

Some good diet moves to make for sleep and inflammation reduction include adding plenty of leafy greens and fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Eating lean proteins and making sure that your blood sugar stays balanced is essential, as well. Beyond that, making sure that you get adequate levels of important vitamins and minerals can also make a significant difference when it comes to sleep quality. If you don't feel like you're getting all the nutrition you need from your diet, a quality supplement can be a simple way to help bridge this gap.

A Few Final Thoughts

There are a lot of different things that can have an impact on your sleep quality at night, and what you eat throughout the day can be one of the biggest ones. While some may like to think that they can eat however they want and get good rest at night, the truth is that a bad diet can often lead to bad sleep, and that there can be a lot to gain from examining your eating habits and adjusting them so that you can better support your ability to sleep well at night.

Most are aware that getting a good night's sleep can make a significant difference in how they feel, but they may not realize how big of an impact their eating habits have on their ability to fall asleep at night. However, by doing things like avoiding sleep-disruptors like caffeine and alcohol and also paying attention to the times you. are eating, you can help improve your sleep quality, and your overall health, too.

A good quality sleep may seem difficult to come by, but tweaking your diet is one of the very best ways to achieve this. Avoiding the food that keeps you awake and restless, and adding foods that promote a healthy sleep cycle will have you falling asleep peacefully in no time.

For all your sleep troubles, Alaska Sleep Clinic has a blog with answers you are looking for to your health questions. Sign up to receive ASC's daily sleep blog below. Our website received over 5 million visits last year alone, making one of the top 5 sites in the world for sleep education.

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