Foods That Affect Sleep

English Insights into Foods That Affect Your Sleep

There is no doubt about the fact that duration and quality of sleep plays an enormous role in performing our daily life tasks. Poor sleep can significantly affect your performance at work, concentration, mood and ability to interact with others. During sleep, physical and mental restoration takes place, which allows you to wake up fresh and alert in the morning.

The most common concept for a healthy well-being coming forth from ancient times; is to eat right and get enough sleep. The quality of sleep also depends on what you drink and eat before going to bed. Many foods enhance the drowsiness and allow you to fall asleep easily, while others do the opposite.

If you are having trouble going to sleep or the quality of your sleep is, somehow, being compromised, then it is time to change your eating habits. Follow these tips and you will see how much better you feel in the morning:

1.     Drinking and Eating Before Going to Bed

Our digestive system rests during the hours between 7pm and 5am. Eating or drinking anything heavy or energetic reduces the speed and effectiveness of digestion, which consequently results in digestive problems. If you intake a large meal before going to sleep, the digestive system instead of resting, will have to work overtime and engage other organs with it as well to get the job done.

You must have heard that eating a heavy meal and alcohol consumption helps you in falling asleep; well it is actually quite the opposite.

2.     Late Night Munching

People who have acid refluxes and heartburns should avoid food intake at late hours of night, especially heavy meals like junk food, which are hard to digest. When you eat and lie down, your body is at a gravitational disadvantage, causing gastric juices and acids to flow up into the esophagus. This results in heartburns that make it difficult to fall asleep.

3.     Caffeine Hinders in Falling Asleep

Any beverage that contains considerable amount of caffeine can hinder in falling asleep, though in some cases, it is actually the opposite. Research has shown that adults who have higher caffeine consumption suffer from insomnia. If your body is sensitive to caffeine and keeps you awake, then avoid it taking in the afternoon and evening hours.

4.     Misconception about Alcohol

While alcohol makes most people fall asleep faster, it reduces their Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in the long run, resulting in more restless nights than one can imagine. If you are not having sufficient sleep, then do not consume alcoholic drinks at least 3 hours before bedtime.

5.     Foods that Helps You have a Goodnight’s Sleep

It is a scientifically proven fact that eating less at dinner improves your health. Apart from that, what you eat before going to bed also has a significant effect on the quality of the sleep. Foods that contain tryptophan promote sleep. Tryptophan is a natural sedative that helps the body in making serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that induces sleep.

Here is a list of foods that contains tryptophan in significant amount and promotes efficient sleep:

  • Almonds
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Hummus
  • Oatmeal
  • Dark chocolate

6.     Foods that Disrupt your Sleep

As mentioned earlier, there are also foods that hold you back from falling asleep. Here is a list of foods that you should not ingest late at night or before going to bed:

  • Soy
  • Spicy foods
  • Aged cheese
  • Tomato-based sauces
  • Smoked or processed meats

7.     Milk and Honey Intake

Milk contains the natural dietary sleep inducer, tryptophan, which increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Honey, like sugar, contains carbohydrates, which makes easy the entry of tryptophan into the brain. This is the reason why mixing a teaspoonful of honey in a warm glass of milk will allow you to sleep asleep easily.

8.     Affects of Carbohydrates on Sleep Quality

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high-carb diets contain amino acids that positively affect sleep. But this effect is not the same for all age groups. Another study on the relationship between sleep and diet showed that kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to have sleep disturbances and night sweats after consuming high-carb diets.

On the contrary, switching to low-carb diet can cause tiredness and fatigue, but such diets also help in treating diabetes. Low-carb diets might also be helpful in treating certain sleep disorders. This hypothesis was tested and published in the British Medical Journal. People suffering from sleep apnea have difficulty in breathing during sleep and according to the study, switching to low-carb diet improves the nocturnal breathing of such individuals.

Are you experiencing poor sleep or are you struggling with insomnia? What you consume may be at fault. Certain types of foods and beverages have been found to disrupt sleep patterns, negatively affecting the quality of sleep. These include caffeinated drinks, spicy foods, and high-sugar foods and drinks. But, fear not! There are also foods that can better the quality of your sleep.

Research has shown a strong correlation between diet and sleep quality. Caffeinated foods and beverages like coffee, tea, and chocolate stimulate the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep. Similarly, spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, contributing to discomfort during bedtime. Surprisingly, sugar plays a role too. While it may give an immediate energy boost, a sugar crash is likely to follow disrupting one’s sleep.

The brighter side of nutrition and sleep shows that there are various foods that can contribute to a more satisfying sleep. For instance, foods rich in tryptophan, magnesium, calcium and B6 can help produce melatonin – a hormone directly linked to sleep cycle. Such foods include milk, bananas, turkey, and almonds. So, the next time you're counting sheep, consider checking your dietary habits first for foods that can affect your sleep. After all, healthy nutrition can be the key to unlocking your best sleep yet.

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