Are you struggling to fall asleep at night or wake up still feeling lethargic? You are not alone, and many struggling sleepers look at exercise or screen usage as a reason, but did you know that your diet can also affect how you sleep? Bad diet habits including what you consume close to bedtime and what you eat every day can hinder your ability to have a good night’s sleep or fall asleep at all. Here we look at three diet tips that will help you sleep better.
Many of us trip ourselves up by consuming the wrong drinks, usually those full of caffeine or sugar. You should avoid caffeine after 12 pm, as it can affect your sleep in more ways than you realize. If you are a serial coffee drinker, now is the time to kick that habit and see your sleep quality increase drastically. If you are really craving a post-lunch coffee, try a caffeine-free alternative. Be wary of any fizzy drinks that contain caffeine too, as these can all influence your sleep quality.
While drinking water is good for your body, you should avoid drinking too much close to bedtime, otherwise, you will be disturbed to go to the toilet. Waking up overnight to visit the toilet disrupts your sleep cycle and this could be a big reason why you are waking up tired in the morning, especially if you visit the toilet multiple times. If you are struggling to sleep before bed, there are drinks that can help such as warm milk or herbal teas, which are known to have a calming effect on the mind and body.
Time is Crucial
Eating too close or too far away from your bedtime can alter how well you sleep. Going to bed on a full stomach isn’t a good idea if you want to fall asleep straight away, as your body is getting to work on digesting the food, making it harder for your brain to switch off and understand it is time for bed. Eating on an empty stomach could cause discomfort and may even lead to acid reflux symptoms.
If you are forced to eat close to bedtime because of other commitments, choose a healthy, light meal that won’t hinder your ability to sleep, such as vegetables and fish, which contains Omega 3s that have been proven to improve sleep. Having a set routine, including what time you eat and when you go to sleep can train your brain to understand when bedtime is, making a routine a good habit to form for the best sleep.
Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid
Wholegrain foods are a good substitute if you are struggling with sleep, especially before bedtime, as complex carbohydrates like pasta and white bread can reduce serotonin levels within the body, impairing sleep. Nuts are another healthy food source when consumed in small amounts and nuts such as almonds contain melatonin, which is a hormone required for the regulation of your sleep cycle.
Many fruits also contain melatonin, so if you want to improve your sleep, you may want to add bananas, oranges, or kiwis to your grocery list. Foods to avoid, especially close to bedtime include spicy foods, as these may trigger heartburn and indigestion, which can lead to discomfort and may also lead to snoring. If snoring is an issue for you, avoid heavy dairy products before bed, as they can cause mucus build-up and try some hypoallergenic snoring strips.
Some foods can help us fall asleep quicker and have an overall better sleep, while other foods may cause problems that can stop us from sleeping well, such as snoring or heartburn. Watching what we consume in the day and at what time can give us a good idea on how to better our sleep quality.