Have you ever tossed and turned in bed as you struggle to find rest? There are a few different reasons why you may be having trouble sleeping. One major factor that can have a huge impact on our sleep schedule is our diet.
Everything we eat and drink affects our sleep. They may be delicious, but the sugary treats and caffeine-rich drinks that we love so much are making our sleep measurably worse. Fortunately, you don’t have to go without them entirely to improve your sleep. There are lots of ways that you can still enjoy these treats in moderation while also ensuring a sound night’s sleep.
This post will explore how both sugar and caffeine affect our body’s ability to get a good night of sleep, and what we can do to change our habits to support better sleep hygiene.
When we first start out drinking coffee, many people find that they eventually need to drink more and more to get the same feeling of energy and alertness they had at the beginning. This leads to people drinking coffee throughout the day and into the evening. This is a terrible habit for sleep hygiene.
Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours, which means that it takes that long for our bodies to process even half of what we’ve drunk. This means that if you drink caffeine at 4 pm, it’s still present in your body at 10 pm, right when you’re trying to get to bed. This makes it difficult to nod off and get into a regular sleep schedule. Ceasing caffeine consumption at least 6 hours before bedtime is recommended.
Coffee isn’t the only food and beverage item that affects our sleep routine. Eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in fibre has been associated with lighter, less restful sleep with more periods of wakefulness, according to a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Additionally, eating lots of heavy food, or foods that contribute to heartburn before bed isn’t a great idea. Acid reflux is associated with a whole host of other sleep-related issues, including Sleep Apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia.
There are many more foods other than coffee that affect our sleep. Fortunately, some of these are foods that will actually help us sleep more soundly.
Remember those jokes that people used to make at the Thanksgiving table about turkey being rich in sleep-inducing tryptophan? The truth is, lots of foods (like cheese, yogurt, and chicken) contain similar amounts of tryptophan. Our bodies turn this into niacin, which is a key component in creating serotonin, a feel-good hormone that our body uses to control our sleep-wake cycles.
Other foods that are helpful for meaningful sleep quality improvement include almonds, walnuts, bananas, and oranges, which are all sources of natural melatonin, another hormone that plays a role in regulating our body clock.
Sleep Apnea has traditionally been associated with older, overweight adults, but the truth is this condition can affect anyone, including children. People with this sleep disorder report feeling exhausted despite getting a regular night’s sleep, and may wake with headaches, a dry mouth, or memory loss.If you think you may have Sleep Apnea, consult a doctor as soon as possible. With the right treatment, including a great CPAP machine, you can get your sleep schedule back on track.
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