Eating for Sleep: How the Foods We Eat Affect Our Sleep and How to Fix it

A busy lifestyle most negatively affects two areas of our life: our eating habits and our sleeping habits. Unfortunately, what we eat may also affect how we sleep leading to even more problems sleeping!

What if changing your diet could help you get a better night’s sleep? Would you try it?

If you think that your diet is preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, then try tracking your food intake. Doing this for one week makes it easier to notice the patterns so that you can figure out which foods and drinks are affecting your sleeping habits.

Start by listing all the foods—including the drinks—that you have taken in each day. Then, in the morning write down what time you fell asleep, what time you woke up and a quick assessment of your sleep: good, bad, disrupted, restful.

When assessing the correlation between diet and sleep patterns, you’ll want to look at more than just what foods you are eating. General eating habits can have a profound impact on your ability to fall or stay asleep. The following are just some of the foods and eating habits that can cause trouble.

Dietary Cause and Effect: Eating Habits vs Sleeping Habits

1. Too much food.

Over-eating is a major culprit for sleep disorders – especially for those who don’t normally have sleeping problems. Overeating makes the digestive system go into overdrive and can cause blood sugar abnormalities that lead to bad sleep.

2. Too many fatty foods, spicy foods or acidic foods.

Much like overeating, people that consume too much fat are more likely to have heartburn, indigestion and stomach upset — all of which leads to a less restful sleep. Cut down on these upsetting foods especially at dinner or before bed.

4. Overindulging in alcohol.

Although it’s common for people to believe that a night cap is a good way to fall asleep, alcohol is actually a bad idea for anyone with trouble sleeping. You may relax, or pass out, but as soon as the alcohol wears off you will wake right back up. A disruptive sleep is no way to get a good night’s rest.

5. The stimulating effects of caffeine.

This is another food culprits for people who have trouble sleeping. For a better more restful slumber, avoid anything with caffeine: coffee (even decaf), chocolate, soda, and tea. If you’re a heavy caffeine user, you may need to ween yourself off as people can experience withdrawal. Start by not having caffeine after 3pm and slowly move to no caffeine at all.

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