Are you wondering how to get a better night’s sleep? You can have deep and restful nights of sleep by improving your diet. Sugars, excessive fat, alcohol, caffeine, stimulants and certain herbs may be negatively affecting your sleep. Diets rich in saturated fat, sugar and lacking fibre can affect not only the quality but often the quantity, of your rest.
Can You Improve Your Sleep By Tweaking Your Diet?
The answer is YES. There are some types of foods that can negatively affect your sleeping patterns. With a few small tweaks to your diet and food intake, you can definitely improve your sleep.
5 Surprising Hacks for the Best Diet for Better Sleep
Learn how to sleep better by following these five easy hacks to your diet.
#1 High Protein
- Protein takes a long time to break down. When we sleep, our digestive system slows down by 50%, making it hard to digest the protein.
- Food rich in protein can disrupt your sleep as it requires your digestive system to work harder.
- Examples of high protein food: meat, chicken, aged cheese.
Suggestion to get a better night’s sleep: eat your high protein food at lunch or a smaller portion at dinner, at least 3 hours before bedtime.
#2 High Fat Food
- If you consume a high-fat diet, especially full of saturated fats, it can shorten your deep sleep stage.
- Carbohydrates will trigger the release of serotonin, a precursor to melatonin, which induces sleep.
Suggestion to sleep better: Eat a balanced diet. Have a light meal for dinner. Focus on complex carbohydrates rather than food that is rich in fat, including processed food, as much as possible.
#3 Spicy and Acidic Food
- Spicy and acidic food (yes, even tomato sauce), can cause heartburn and heartburn pain.
- Spicy and high acid foods can affect the time it takes for you to fall asleep and also influence the sleeping cycle, causing a shorter deep sleep stage.
- Not all spicy food and high acid food will cause heartburn or a prolonged period of falling asleep.
You can keep a food journal, tracking your food and sleep to identify if any spicy or high acid food interferes with your sleep.
#4 Coffee, De-Caf Coffee and Tea
- Coffee and tea (back, green and white tea) contain caffeine, which is a strong stimulant.
- Decaf coffee might be an alternative for those seeking to limit their caffeine intake. It contains about 7mg of caffeine per 8 ounces.
- It takes about 10 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off.
Suggestions for a better night’s sleep: if you decide to drink caffeinated beverages, consider finishing them 10 hours before your bedtime.
#5 Water and Herbal Tea
- Even water and calming herbal tea too close to bedtime can be disruptive if it causes your bladder to wake you up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
Suggestion to sleep better: drink water and herbal tea, like camomile, before or with dinner, allowing ample time to empty your bladder before bedtime.
What to Eat
To get a better night’s sleep, you should stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. However, if you feel hungry, there are some types of food that can promote the production of Tryptophan and Melatonin.
- Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in food that contains protein. Among its other roles and benefits, Tryptophan can be made into Serotonin and Melatonin. You can find Tryptophan in nuts and seeds, honey, bananas, turkey and chicken.
- Serotonin – is a multipurpose neurotransmitter also used to synthesize melatonin. A higher level of serotonin can actually interfere with REM and the sleep cycle.
- Melatonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating our circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle). The circadian rhythm controls aspects of our body’s hormone release, temperature and sleeping patterns.
What To Eat For a Better Night’s Sleep
For a better night’s sleep, it is best to allow 3 hours between your last meal and your bedtime. However, if you are hungry before bedtime, have a small meal or a snack: Banana or apple and peanut butter, toast and cheese, crackers and cheese, some nuts and seeds or complex carbohydrates.
Miri Malkin is a hypnotherapist and wellness coach, helping people gain sound and restful nights’ sleep. Miri works with her clients in her Vancouver office or online, from the comfort of their own home. For more information and to contact Miri Malkin @ Miri Malkin Hypnosis For Top Performance, click below: