You know your diet plays a big role in how you feel and look, but have you considered that what you eat also affects your sleep? And, of course, your sleep (or lack of it) greatly impacts the way you look and feel. There’s a reciprocal relationship between food, sleep, and health, and understanding how it works is important for overall wellbeing. From Dr. Jeff Rodgers, the trusted sleep dentist providing sleep apnea therapy in Dunwoody, we’ve got more on the relationship between diet and sleep below.
The Diet-Sleep Connection
You may have noticed that when you’re running on little sleep, it’s more difficult to control everything from your emotions to your decision-making. Without sufficient energy to function well, your brain will seek easy calories from foods that are high in fat and sugar. That’s why a burger sounds great after you’ve pulled an all-nighter — whether it was intentionally or because you just couldn’t fall into restful sleep.
Of course, what you eat also greatly impacts your ability to fall and stay asleep. You get melatonin, a hormone that aids in healthy sleep, through natural sources like eggs, bananas, and nuts. Getting plenty of water throughout the day keeps you hydrated and also reduces your intake of caffeine throughout the day, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Yes, certain foods and beverages can help or hamper your sleep quality. Drinking hot (decaffeinated) tea before sleep can help you relax — and so can cutting out these four things that make it difficult to fall (and stay) asleep.
4 Things That Affect Your Sleep
Are you unknowingly impacting your ability to rest every night by eating these top five sleep killers? If so, make a change and see if you notice a difference in your energy levels the next day.
#1: Hidden Caffeine Sources
If you love to have an after-dinner dark chocolate treat but often have trouble falling asleep, switch to a non-chocolate dessert for a night and see if you notice a difference. You know to stay away from caffeinated coffee after the mid-afternoon, but items like chocolate, protein bars, and even a decaffeinated cup of joe can pack a hidden caffeine punch.
#2: Your Nightcap
Most people think alcohol = good for sleep, but it’s really not that easy. While having a couple of evening drinks may make it easier to fall asleep, it’s staying asleep that will be the tricky part. Drink too much alcohol before bed and you’re at a higher risk of getting shallow sleep or being woken up by night sweats, nightmares, or frequent urination.
#3: A Big Evening Meal
As you near bedtime, your digestive system should be slowing down in preparation for a full night’s sleep. But if you have recently eaten a big, heavy meal, your body will be tasked with breaking it down hours afterward. Stick to smaller, lighter meals and give your body a rest… and you’ll enjoy better rest, too.
#4: Spicy Foods
If you’re someone who loves to turn up the heat in your food but often can’t fall asleep due to your heartburn, it’s no mystery that you may need to tone down the spice for your evening meal. Even if you don’t suffer from heartburn, eating a spicy dinner can increase your core temperature and interfere with your sleep all the same.
When It’s Time for Sleep Apnea Therapy
If you’ve tried to change your diet but still suffer from chronic snoring and interrupted sleep, take our sleep quiz to find out if you are at risk of sleep apnea.