How Your Diet Can Affect Your Sleeping Patterns

How Your Diet Can Affect Your Sleeping Patterns

Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. If we do not get enough sleep at night (the recommended amount for a healthy adult is between 7-9 hours) it can lead to overeating in the day, as our body will start to crave energy in the form of food to keep us going. it is therefore vital for our health that we get into a healthy sleeping routine.

When to Eat

Many diets advise us to stop eating after a certain time of day due to the digestion process being more effective when we are active, however it’s also not a good idea not to go to sleep on a completely empty stomach. In fact, having a small snack before bedtime can actually be beneficial. This is because when we are hungry our body releases adrenaline due to our primordial instinct to hunt for food. This can cause us to wake up in the middle of the night craving a late-night snack.

Certain foods can aid our sleep whereas others can have a negative impact. For example, Bananas are great for sleep, as they contain tryptophan which is a great source of magnesium. Certain nuts such as walnuts or almonds are also a great option as they are source of melatonin which helps to regulate our sleep patterns and stimulates the brain signals associated with sleep.

Foods to avoid

Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, as this can provide a poorer quality of sleep as well as lowering your serotonin levels. Too much protein, in particular red meat is also a no-no as this can cause your body to struggle with digestion and lead to a sleepless night.

Your body knows best.

It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different, and we all require different levels of sleep. Whilst one person may need 10 hours sleep to feel like themselves in the morning, another may only require 6. If you aren’t feeling refreshed when you wake up, you may want to monitor your sleeping patterns to see if more/less sleep has any effect. Aim for a set time to sleep each night. There are many apps which can help you do this. You could also try a different snack each week to see how your digestive system and body processes certain foods. Wholewheat carbs may keep someone full and satiated through the night for example, yet this might not be an option for someone prone to inflammation or bloating.

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