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How Eating Healthy Helps you Sleep Easier

Posted by on December 22, 2020 in Food, Drink & Nutrition, Health with 0 Comments

Introduction

Could something you ate keep you from a good night’s sleep? Several factors can cause this health condition. When I’ve had this problem in the past, I discovered that one of the most overlooked reasons for lack of sleep one is an unhealthy diet. This can affect your ability to sleep soundly, just like not knowing how to pick your perfect mattress.

You can also toss and turn after eating or drinking the “wrong” foods before bedtime, such as sugary desserts or caffeinated drinks. For example, I’m a coffee drinker but try to avoid having a cup of java after dinner. Let’s discuss the connection between a healthy diet and better sleep quality.


How Food Affects Health 

Before taking up the effect of food on sleep quality, it’s also important to look at the big picture. There’s the old saying that “You are what you eat.” However, it’s important to know about some of the specifics that could affect how well we sleep at night.

Everyday Food and Overall Health 

The human body requires a certain amount of different nutrients every day, including vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

If our diets lack a significant amount of nutritional requirements, then this affects various metabolic processes related to how the body turns food into fuel. It’s probably not surprising if that happens, then our health and wellbeing drop.

Besides getting the right foods, we should also avoid too much unhealthy food. This includes ones high in fat, sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients. It can cause different health issues, like becoming overweight/obese or malnourished. It’s also possible to develop serious health issues like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

Food and Cells

Food nutrients can help the body’s cells to perform their various functions related to growth and development. These are “essential nutrients,” so if some aren’t present, it can result in a drop in human health.

Modern Diet Problems 

Today the so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) has become popular throughout the world. These foods like bacon double cheeseburgers, French fries, and deep-fried Twinkies are high in ingredients like saturated fat, white sugar, and iodized salt.

Highly-processed Foods 

Certain foods like salt and sugar are “natural” but can still cause health issues. For example, if you eat a big bag of potato chips or jelly-filled donut, the high salt and sugar content could prevent you from dozing off.

Even these foods aren’t as natural as they might seem. For example, today many people eat “iodized salt” because iodine is added to the mineral. More natural options include rock salt or sea salt.

Then there’s sugar, which is made from sugarcane juice. However, the processing removes all nutritional value from the natural plant and can, over time, lead to blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, and type-2 diabetes. These results could cause you to toss and turn all night.

Artificial Ingredients 

This is another major problem with modern food and drinks. Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are often added to pre-packaged foods. They can make food tasty, but ones with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or artificial sweeteners might cause various short or long-term health issues like sleep disorders.

Food-Exercise-Sleep Balance 

The mistake that many people make is not having a balance of these factors, which can prevent you from getting a full night’s sleep.

Healthy Diet for Sleep 

Counting calories and making healthy choices at mealtime can provide your body with the nutrients it needs while helping to prevent extra calories and fat. Natural, organic, and whole foods are good options, while refined grains, trans-fat, and artificial ingredients are stuff to avoid.

Regular Exercise and Sleep 

Cardio and weight-resistance exercise can provide a wide range of benefits that can improve your overall health and sleep. They include weight loss, lower blood pressure, and better heart health.

You should still avoid working out close to bedtime since the higher heart rate and adrenaline levels can keep you awake.  

Sleep Schedule/Environment 

Even if you’re eating healthy and exercising regularly, you should also make sure to have a sleep schedule and a good sleep environment to improve sleep quality. Here are some helpful tips:

*Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool.

*Find the best mattress to sleep easier.

*Add warm colors to your bedroom.

*Go to sleep and wake up at the same time.

*Switch off gadgets 1+ hours before bedtime

 *Install dark curtains or heavy blinds 

The Best Sleep Diet Foods 

If you’re eating a mostly healthy diet, then you won’t have to make big changes to your sleep diet. In other words, you should avoid eating an epic cheat meal as your midnight snack even if you’ve had healthy food all day.

What to Eat 

If you want to improve your sleep quality, then your sleep diet should be similar to a weight-loss diet and include:

*Lean meats

*Whole grains

*Fruits/veggies

*Dairy

Eating a wide range of healthy foods can provide all the nutrients you need daily. This is especially true related to the body’s metabolic processes, including the four stages of sleep.

Snack Foods

Try to keep your snacks mostly healthy. Part of the joy of food is eating “comfort foods” that tend to be unhealthier than carrot sticks and apple slices. The key is to keep portion sizes small, like a few cookies or mini candy bars.

Nighttime Snacks

In theory, you should avoid eating after 6:00 PM for the best results. However, if you’re going to have an evening snack, keep it light and healthy if possible. You should also try to avoid eating within 2 hours before bedtime.

Foods You Should Start Eating before Bed (video)

Sleep Diet Foods to Avoid 

Salt, Sugar, and Caffeine

These are some of the main items you should limit and especially close to bedtime. They can all boost blood pressure, which can make it tougher to fall asleep and experience enough deep sleep at nighttime.

Natural caffeine sources like black coffee and green tea can be quite healthy. However, the very latest you should usually drink such beverages is with heavy desserts like cake, pie, or bars.

Foods You Should Absolutely Never Eat before Going to Bed (video)

Big Portion Sizes 

Try to generally avoid large meals because it’s tougher for your body to digest them from the get-go. Many health experts recommend 6 to 8 small meals during the day instead of 3 large ones.

Large portion sizes can also keep you up during evening snacks. So it’s better to go with a small sandwich or one slice of pizza versus larger options, for example.

During sleep, the body is basically recovering and recharging. It can make the process tougher if you eat a snack just before bedtime and especially if you eat a huge one.

Conclusion 

The human body requires certain daily nutrients to function properly. If it doesn’t get them, then it can become like a malfunctioning machine. This can affect different body functions, including metabolism and sleep quality.

That’s why it’s important to take steps to improve how easy it is to catch Zs at night. That includes eating an early dinner, avoiding caffeine after late afternoon, and ditching extra-large meat lover’s pizzas as a midnight snack. These tips and others like learning how to pick your perfect mattress can help you sleep well because you’re eating right.

About the Author

Erick is a writer at ID-MAG. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Erick dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Erick has probably reviewed them all. Erick also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!

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