Unfortunately, many of us have difficulty sleeping (without interruption) throughout the night. Sure, little ones, pets, and noisy neighbors can prevent a peaceful slumber. But, what about the other culprit? That’s right, FOOD. What you eat can make or break your solid night’s sleep.
Good Sleep is Not an Option
Up to 40% of adults claim to have occasional insomnia. This is simply unacceptable. A good night’s sleep (regularly) is a necessity. It provides clearer skin, improved mental clarity, a stronger immune system, amongst many other health benefits. There are several different factors that can aid you in reaping quality rest time.
One of the most important factors is the consistency of your sleep schedule. Going to bed at nearly the same time each evening, and then waking around the same time each morning makes a big difference. Yes, even on the weekends.
This type of practice keeps your circadian rhythm in sync. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It helps regulate how awake you feel during the day, and allows for tiredness to set in as the day comes to a close.
The Link Between Food and Best Rest
Many studies have discovered that lack of sleep affects our gut microbiome. Chronic sleep loss can be associated with changes in the microbiota. Our gut informs our brain and affects other chief body functions, including our metabolism.
Sleep disturbances, especially over a period of time, will negatively affect our metabolic system. Proper digestion becomes impaired, and weight gain (or the inability to lose weight) can become the reality.
It’s kind of a vicious cycle—eating poorly can blemish healthy sleep patterns, and, conversely, unhealthy sleep habits can impair your ability to process foods adequately.
So, What’s the Suggestion for a Better Night’s Sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation has recently offered dietary tips to improve the condition of your rest. Here are their recommendations as well as those from our staff here at DrDaveCampbell.com
– The primary recommendation is to reduce sugar intake. Too much sugar increases the probability that you’ll awaken in the middle of the night. This isn’t limited to cake, ice cream, and candy. Read your food labels and try to avoid products that have added sugar in the ingredients list. (This could include, for example: potato chips, cereal, spaghetti sauce, and even peanut butter.)
– Avoid alcohol before bed. Also, lower your quantity intake (at any time of day.) Your liver can only process a certain amount before it sends the alcohol, which turns into sugar, to other parts of the body and spills over into the bloodstream.
– Limit acidic foods. Too much acidity can create heartburn, which can definitely interrupt your sleep.
– Add foods that help regulate melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycles. Foods rich in vitamin B are recommended. Some suggested foods are: fish (especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids), eggs, and green veggies.
– Tryptophan also promotes better sleep. Some foods that include this essential amino acid are: turkey, cheese, and grass-fed bed.
– Foods high in magnesium will also assist with a good night’s rest. Magnesium levels affect our circadian clock in positive ways. Cells are able to process energy with increased efficiency, improving the function of sleep-wake cycles. Some magnesium-rich foods include: dark leafy greens, yogurt, bananas, and avocados.
Eat To Sleep
Knowing how important sleep is to your overall current and extended health is essential. If including certain foods (and avoiding others) can help you attain the best night’s sleep, why not adopt some of the recommendations? After all, you are—and sleep as well—as what you eat!
For other articles on best health habits and up-to-date research on wellness, check out DrDaveCampbell.com
National Sleep Foundation, February 2017