How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep: Full in Detail

How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

You know that your food choices can disrupt your sleep in some very obvious ways if you’ve ever toss and turned in bed after a spicy meal gave you reflux or some deep-fried food gave you gas.

How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep
How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

However, is there sufficient data for doctors to advise patients on what to eat to facilitate restful sleep?

There is some reliable research that has looked at different foods in relation to sleep, according to Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City whose work explores the relationship between sleep, diet, and cardiometabolic disease. “.

There is evidence that certain eating habits or diets may also aid in promoting better sleep, in addition to a few particular foods.

Do Some Foods Help You Sleep?

For instance, research indicates that tart cherries and kiwis both promote better sleep.

A study from Taiwan found that people who consumed two kiwis an hour before bed for four weeks slept 40 minutes longer and fell asleep 14 minutes faster than those who did not consume any kiwis. Another British study discovered that people who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily—30 minutes after waking up and again 30 minutes before dinner—slept longer and more “efficiently” than those who drank a placebo cherry drink.

According to Dr. St-Onge, tart cherries and kiwis both contain melatonin, which might be the cause of these foods’ ability to promote sleep. The hormone melatonin, which the body naturally produces, aids in regulating the sleep-wake cycles. Other foods and supplements that contain it are listed below.

St-Onge claims that eating melatonin-rich foods may help improve melatonin levels at specific times of the day, though she quickly adds that more research is required. (Neither study examined whether consumption of tart cherry juice or kiwis actually altered participants’ melatonin levels. ).

So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, should you stock up on kiwis and tart cherry juice? There’s probably no harm in trying these out, but at this time, How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep sleep specialists aren’t advising patients to take them. The study is still important because it supports the hypothesis that melatonin-rich foods may increase melatonin levels in the body, which would improve sleep.

Other melatonin-containing foods may also aid in the promotion of sleep, according to some of St-Onge’s own research findings. These include a variety of dairy products, such as milk from cows that were milked at night when the milk’s melatonin content may be higher. She emphasizes that more research is necessary to definitively determine how consuming foods high in melatonin can affect sleep.

However, there are additional, more definite connections between diet and sleep.

Do some diets promote better sleep?

A diet in the Mediterranean style has been linked in studies to better sleep. In one study, the better a person did on a quiz meant to gauge their adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the better they slept overall.

Light Sleep vs. Heavy Sleep: An Explanation.

As you are likely already aware, a Mediterranean diet is one that emphasizes plant-based foods like fish, whole grains, olive oil, and dairy products, as well as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds. It also includes a limited amount of alcohol. Additionally, it avoids red meat and refined carbohydrates in general.

St-Onge has also studied sleep and the Mediterranean diet. In one study, she and her colleagues examined dietary and sleeping information gathered from more than 2,000 people. We discovered that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet was linked to a lower risk of disturbed sleep and insomnia symptoms, the author says.

Because the study was observational, it simply looked for links between diet and sleep. It is impossible to determine whether adopting a Mediterranean diet would result in better sleep. But St-Onge asserts that a few components of the Mediterranean diet may be responsible for its associations with better sleep. According to her, this eating plan typically contains high levels of fiber and little sugar. Her analysis of the data revealed that “higher fiber consumption is associated with more deep sleep and less light sleep, and consuming less sugar is associated with fewer nighttime awakenings. ”.

How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

Once more, she argues that more research is necessary to elucidate the precise mechanism by which these dietary components could improve sleep quality. However, of all the diets available, the Mediterranean diet is arguably the one that has been most consistently linked How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep with good health outcomes and low rates of disease. It also makes sense that a healthy diet may aid in promoting sound sleep because we know that a poor diet can cause the human body to dysregulate in ways that result in obesity, diabetes, and other health problems, all of which have been connected in various ways to poor sleep.

How insufficient sleep affects eating habits.

Numerous studies have connected inadequate sleep with an increase in cravings for junk food. For instance, one study discovered that women’s hunger, food cravings, and portion sizes when eating the following day increased when their sleep time was reduced by 33 percent.

Brain scans were used in a different study to reveal that people who had been sleep deprived for a full day had decreased activity in the areas of the brain that control appetite and self-control.  The authors of that study observed increased “food desirability” at the same time that other brain regions were more active.

How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

According to St-Onge, “We know very well that inadequate sleep affects food preferences,” citing studies showing that this occurs when we observe people’s behavior in sleep-restricted environments and studies examining the brain activity of sleep-deprived individuals.


How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

St-Onge has also done research in this area. In one of her studies, she and her coworkers describe how the reward centers of the brain, which react to food we find pleasurable, were more active after a night of poor sleep, whereas the parts of the brain that help control hunger and willpower were more active after a night of good sleep. Sleep also had an impact on dietary decisions How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep . According to her, people who were sleep deprived “ate more fat and saturated fat and found these foods more pleasurable. In other words, when tired, the brain appears to be more susceptible to food-based temptations.

She points out that previous studies have connected sleep deprivation to higher intakes of fat and carbohydrates, respectively, and that it’s possible that poor sleep causes some hunger-related hormones to rise or fall, which may help explain these effects.

There are links between a person’s diet and sleep habits, so what are we to make of all this? And according to St-Onge, this relationship probably goes both ways; that is, a person’s food choices affect their sleep, How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep  and vice versa. However, it’s challenging to specify exactly what (or how) a person should eat in order to improve their sleep at this time.

How What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

According to St-Onge, “I believe that this field is still in its infancy at this time.”. It seems like a good way to improve your quality of sleep is to follow a balanced, plant-based diet. When it comes to the specifics, there are still a lot of questions.

Read Also: Here’s How Stress and Inflammation Are Linked

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