How Does Diet Affect Sleep – Sleep quality does not only depend on your sleep patterns. No matter how comfortable your mattress is or how relaxing you groom your bedroom to be, if you’re not keeping your body healthy and fit, you are still at risk of developing sleep disorders. Does diet affect sleep? Absolutely! The combinations of food and beverages in your general diet during the day can dictate how you sleep at night.
Continue reading the article to find out how you can improve sleep by what you eat!
Does Diet Affect Sleep?
It’s a popular scientific fact that a well-balanced diet can significantly benefit your mental and physical health. That also applies to your sleep-wake cycle. Eating nutritious meals consisting of tart cherry juice and kiwifruits provides the brain with the necessary chemical environment to improve sleep quality. The dietary nutrients that you get from your diet are building blocks in producing the right concentrations of an amino acid essential for bedtime. Eating less of something important or consuming more of something bad can lead to disastrous results for your sleep.
How does diet affect sleep? Managing your diet is important because food and sleep have a close relationship with each other. Your food consumption helps maintain the natural circadian rhythm of your body. The circadian rhythm is not only responsible for making you fall asleep at night and waking you up in the morning. It is also in charge of keeping the body able to metabolize the food that you consumed.
What you eat and when you eat it also play major roles in your sleep quality. Switching to a low-carb diet or modifying your eating hours can reprogram your body’s natural clock. Every time you make drastic changes to your eating habits, you are also messing up your body’s response to sleep and how much sleep time you can get.
Correlation of Diet And Sleep Time
A study done to a control group claims that there are different associations between total sleep time and the type of diet that participants consumed. According to the study, there are three groups: the very short sleepers, the short sleepers, and the long sleepers. The very short sleepers drink less water, eat fewer carbohydrates found in cherries and other red fruits, and consume fewer dark greens with high antioxidant capacity.
The short sleepers also drink less water and eat fewer foods that contain nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, and lutein. The long sleepers, on the other hand, eat less of the compound found in chocolate but drink more alcohol than the two other groups.
The study also reports that low protein intake results in difficulty in sleeping and overall poor sleep quality. It also claims that people who eat small amounts of carbohydrates and those that consume foods with high protein have difficulty staying asleep and have short sleep duration.
Unhealthy Food and Sleep Can Cause Obesity
A disordered sleep can affect your overall health. If you haven’t had adequate sleep the night before, you become lethargic the next day. As a result, you are more likely to overeat to keep your body from tiring out. An unhealthy diet can produce short sleep duration, too. It can also result in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, weight gain, and obesity. People who even sleep for long hours at night can also experience the same negative impacts on the body. That is how diet affects sleep.
Foods That Improve Sleep Quality
Does diet affect sleep? A healthy diet in right amounts can go a long way in improving your NREM sleep during nighttime. A diet that consists of foods rich in tryptophan can promote good sleep quality. Tryptophan is a type of amino acid that is necessary for producing the sleep-inducing hormone called serotonin.
It also helps with calcium in the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. Tryptophan-rich foods consist of tart cherries, kiwifruit, dark greens, fatty fish, meat, bananas, soy products, cherry juice, cherry cultivars, and nuts.
Carbohydrates and Proteins
Ever wonder why you always feel sleepy after a carbo-loaded meal? That is because carbohydrate-rich meals make you want to doze off. That is also the reason why snacks with high amounts of carbohydrates such as cereals with fermented milk, peanut butter on toast, and cheese and crackers are some of the common bedtime snacks. Protein also plays a major role in inducing sleep. It works with carbohydrates in creating the chemical structure necessary for producing melatonin.
It comes as no surprise that chamomile tea is included in this list. After all, its sleep-inducing benefits have already been recognized centuries before lactobacillus helveticus was discovered. Chamomile tea promotes sleep by reducing anxiety and oxidative stress in the body caused by physical exertion and physical activity.
Another good reason to drink a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed at night is that hot beverages, according to scientific studies, make people feel less lonely – a calming thought needed for a relaxing night’s rest.
Foods That Disrupt Sleep At Night
While carbohydrate-rich foods can induce sleep, too much or very low carbohydrate in one’s diet can change the entire sleep architecture and result in short sleep. How diet affects sleep? People who eat fewer carbohydrates spend lesser time in the restorative phase of the sleep-wake cycle, while those who have high-carb foods tend to get less time in NREM sleep. Also, people who eat a high-carbohydrate meal four hours before going to sleep at night are at a higher risk for reduced sleep latency onset.
How does diet affect sleep? Consuming heavily-processed foods or snacks that are high in sugar is not only bad for your waistline but also to your sleep quality. Overeating sugary foods can make changes on your blood sugar. Have you ever woken up feeling hungry? That is one of the tell-tale signs you’ve had too much sugar. When you consume too many sugary foods during the day, your body releases the hormone insulin to absorb all the excess blood sugar. As a result, your blood sugar will drop and wake you up starving in the middle of the night.
However, it doesn’t mean that you need to starve yourself before bedtime to achieve the benefits of long, restful sleep. According to a dietician, the last meal of the day should be eaten two to three hours before rest. If four to five hours have already passed without you dozing off and you feel peckish for something, choose a light snack like a banana or yogurt.