You’ve read online about not using your phone in bed, buying black-out blinds and working out a night-time routine. Yet a huge factor in your sleep habits that you likely haven’t read about is your diet… and we’re not just talking avoiding cheese. What impact does the food and drink you consume really have on your sleep? We Sell Sleep investigates.
The liquids that you consume during the day and evening may have more effect on your sleep quality than you realise. Of course, caffeine is more prevalent in drinks rather than food, but it’s easy to build up a tolerance to it and so the impact varies from person to person. It’s important to remember that caffeine isn’t just found in black coffee, but also tea, green tea, fizzy and sugary drinks. Caffeine can stay in your blood stream for a good few hours and so if you’re at all concerned it could be affecting your slumber, cut it out from midday onwards. You’ll be surprised the affect it could have!
Warm milk makes for the perfect night-time wind-down beverage, as does herbal tea. Factor it into your evening routine for ultimate relaxation. It’s tempting to have a glass or two of wine, a beer or a quick G&T, but whilst alcohol can help your initial crash into sleep, it’ll later disrupt your REM cycle, and as it depletes your hydration, leave you feeling more tired than you did before.
Indeed, hydration is a key factor in your sleep health; research indicates that drinking enough water during the day is directly associated with sleep quality. Unfortunately, it’s the case that not everyone knows exactly how much that is for them, as it depends on your age, size and activity levels. Ask your GP or have a google around! On average, it’s 3 litres a day for an adult and 2.2 litres for an adult woman.
When it comes to food, it’ll be no surprise to learn that the healthier your diet, the healthier your sleep. There’s lots of tricks and tips to eating well but not letting it affect your forty winks.
Having the largest meal of your day at lunch rather than dinner allows your body to carry out as much digestion as possible before you settle in for the night. This enables your body to rest as much as it can without still having to exert itself whilst you’re comatose. Processed carbohydrates can be ‘slow-burners’ for digestion, so leave the pasta for lunch. You don’t to wake yourself with a rumbling tummy, even if it is digesting.
Foods that can be snacked on before bed tend to contain the amino acid Tryptophan. This acid is converted into Melatonin, which helps your body’s internal clock keep ticking and recognising when you should be resting. Foods high in Tryptophan include eggs, spirulina, pumpkin seeds and turkey. It’s also found in cheese, so it’s up to you how seriously to take the old wives’ tale.
So, there you have it. With some insider knowledge (particularly of what to avoid), you could transform your sleep quality from zero to hero with very little effort at all!