How Food Affects Sleep

Woman Having Difficulty Sleeping

Is dropping a few pounds at the top of your to-do list? If you’re dieting, you’re likely striving to eat real, healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, nuts and seeds. However, when planning your daily menu, you may not think about how the food you eat will affect your sleep. Interestingly, some types of foods are believed to disrupt sleep while others are thought to encourage it. So, if you’re ready to lose weight, and improve your overall health, understanding how “what you eat when” affects sleep is crucial. 

One common misdeed dieters make is skipping breakfast. In committing this nutrition crime, they believe they’re cutting unnecessary calories and promoting weight loss. Unfortunately, if you skip your morning repast, you might overcompensate at dinner. Overeating at nighttime can leave you tossing and turning in your bed with heartburn or an upset stomach. Likewise, consuming too little food at dinner can negatively affect your sleep. A growling, empty stomach can both prevent you from going to sleep and awaken you from a deep sleep. To prevent insomnia, and its negative effects on your waistline, aim to eat healthy, balanced meals throughout your day.

Besides spacing your meals evenly throughout your day, you should also avoid consuming some foods before bedtime while embracing snacking on others. Tart cherry juice contains the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps to control your sleep-wake cycle. Both tart cherry juice and milk are natural sources of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is thought to possess sleep-inducing properties.

While drinking a glass of either tart cherry juice or milk before bedtime might promote sleep, downing a cup of coffee, tea, or soda before you retire to bed at night may prevent you from slumbering. These beverages are packed with arousing caffeine. Amazingly, the stimulating effects of caffeine might persist for 10 to 12 hours in some people. To increase your odds of sleeping soundly, you may wish to ban caffeine from your diet after the mid-morning hours. If you need help developing a menu plan that encourages weight loss as well as peaceful sleep, consider setting up a free consultation at a Metabolic Research Center near you.


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