Alaska Sleep Education Center

Is Your Diet Giving You Sleepless Nights?

Posted by Jane Sandwood on Feb 15, 2022 5:56:00 AM

young woman shopping for fruits and vegetables in produce department of a grocery store supermarket


Every New Year’s, countless Alaskans, and Americans in general, make a plethora of New Year’s resolutions that are meant to help them be the best possible versions of themselves during the year ahead. One of the most popular resolutions according to a poll conducted by online learning platform revolves around one of our greatest struggles as humans: losing weight. In an attempt to shed some unwanted pounds, many eager individuals embark on a new diet to help them get into shape.

It is widely known that following a healthy balanced diet and coupling it with regular exercise is definitely a good way to lose weight, an extreme diet can leave you with more problems than simply being overweight. One of the most problematic side effects of a restrictive diet is disrupted sleeping patterns. Here’s a closer look at exactly how your new diet can impact your sleep.

Hunger Pangs Can Wake You Up

It is no secret that it is very difficult to sleep on an empty stomach. One way to ensure you don’t go to bed hungry,  apart from actually eating enough food during the day, is to make sure your diet contains enough healthy fats. One of the most popular diets at present, the keto diet, is known to be low in carbs and high in healthy fats.

Despite this being common knowledge, and key to losing weight, many people try to boost their weight loss efforts by cutting down on their fat consumption.  Unfortunately, this causes severe hunger pangs which makes it difficult to fall asleep and can cause disrupted sleep as well. Aim to include sufficient amounts of healthy fat sources such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds, and olives in your diet to help you get a good night’s rest.

Caffeine is a Known Sleep Disrupter

Coffee is often included in weight-loss diets thanks to caffeine’s reputation for boosting metabolism and increasing fat burning. Unfortunately, too much caffeine can also wreak havoc with your sleeping patterns. According to one study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, consuming caffeine as much as six hours before bedtime can significantly impact sleep.

Although caffeine does not have to be avoided in its entirety, the FDA recommends that no more than 400mg (the equivalent of four strong cups of coffee) is consumed every day. Also, steer clear of any high-caffeine, sugary sports drinks and drinks loaded with cream and syrup that can thwart your dieting efforts.

Your Fasting Could Keep You Awake

Intermittent fasting (IF) has been increasing in popularity over the past few years and with very good reason. Apart from being highly effective as a weight-loss diet, it is also believed to be of significant benefit to both physical and mental health. Research has found, however, that sleep disturbances are very common among people doing IF. Thankfully, all hope is not lost as there are various things you can do to ensure a better night’s rest.  Start by making sure you drink enough water during the day to stay well-hydrated. Make sure that you only eat healthy foods that are conducive to good sleep during your eating window. You can also benefit from doing mindful meditation that will help decrease your cortisol levels and make it easier to get a good night’s rest.

Countless people undertake to lose weight at the start of a new year. As beneficial as this may be it is important to not compromise the quality of your sleep for the sake of losing a few extra pounds.

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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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, insomnia, diet, nutrition, getting beter sleep

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