The Food You Eat and How it Affects Your Sleep

The most common sleep disorders that people experience range from occasional sleepless nights to situations of ongoing insomnia. Changing your diet is one method that healthcare professionals recommend as a way of dealing with sleeping disorders, because the foods that people eat directly reflects on how well they sleep. The idea of indulging in a late night meal or snack may sound normal and harmless, but it can unfortunately result in an adverse effect on the normal sleeping habit. It is hence imperative that some foods should be eliminated from the regular diet while adding certain diets that aid in peaceful sleep.

The Truth about Stimulants and Sleep

Certain drinks, such as coffee, often hinder the ability to get an adequate nights sleep, because they heighten your sense of alertness. Such drinks should not be consumed after a certain hour of the day or should be entirely replaced with low or caffeine-free drinks, such as green tea, which also contains herbal benefits. As night approaches and it begins getting dark outside, the gamma aminobutyric (neurotransmitter GABA) in your brain starts switching off adrenaline as it prepares for sleep.

Certain stimulants, including coffee, usually target GABA thus interfering with its function of slowing down the adrenaline’s stimulating effects, which in turn keeps people awake. Additionally, GABA affects some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine which aid an individual in feeling calm and relaxed. Low GABA levels contribute to individuals experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety which may cause sleep problems if left untreated.

Other than coffee, alcohol and nicotine also contribute to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Having an alcoholic drink prior to going to bed is a common habit with many people, because these people believe that it will help them sleep – that’s a common misconception. Alcohol adversely affects sleeping quality and should be avoided a minimum of 3 hours before going to bed or even longer for better results. It’s better to drink before dinner than during dinner or indulging in late night drinks. A bathroom break commonly disturbs the sleeping habit and should be avoided by ensuring that no liquids are consumed 1-1/2 hours before going to bed.

Discover How Different Foods Promote or Disrupt Sleep

There are certain foods that enhance sleep quality, especially those that contain tryptophan. These types of food include: chicken, cheese, turkey and warm milk. Tryptophan is an amino acid that aids in inducing sleep. On the other hand, foods that disrupt sleep should be avoided, and this includes spicy foods due to their tendency of warming the body, reducing the feeling of exhaustion and increasing circulation of blood flow through your system. Spicy foods are considered detrimental, because they give rise to problems such as gas, bloating and cramping as well as disrupting your digestive system. All these symptoms lead to sleeplessness and if spicy foods cannot be entirely avoided, they should be consumed at least a few hours before going to sleep.

Key Principles to a Low GL Diet

Plummeting levels of sugar causes an adrenaline hormone rise hence keeping the body stimulated and interfering with the ability of settling down and falling asleep. A diet consisting of low glycemic load (GL) foods will help keep your blood sugar levels in check while still providing the body with adequate energy for use during the night. Additionally, a low diet in GL makes the body feel satiated for longer periods and stops the common hunger feelings before bedtime. Generally, always ensure you eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime to get the best quality of sleep possible. You’ll feel much more energized the next day; you’ll be more productive; you’ll feel happier; and on and on…The benefits of sleep are seemingly endless.

4 Responses to The Food You Eat and How it Affects Your Sleep
  1. medical equipment

    I’ve told my wife over and over again that she shouldn’t drink coffee before bed. she keeps complaining of being tired and i tell her its because of the coffee but will she listen 🙂 i shall let her have a little read of this post and let her make her mind up 🙂

  2. Atlanta Health tips

    Thanks for sharing your sound-sleep tips.
    I’m going to give GABA a try since it sounds like it offers multiple benefits.

  3. Excessive Perspiration

    I liked to read more but it ended soon. I could learn do’s and dont’s before sleeping from this post. Thanks for giving an important information

  4. findmyipadress

    I appreciate your writing talent and your uncanny ability to make clear, concise points. I agree with a lot of your unique views. Thank you.

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