Are you having trouble with your sleep? Have you googled for solutions online, talked to your doctor, tried to take dangerous pills, and found no success? Are you at your wit’s end? Well, here’s a seemingly radical solution: have you tried to clean up your diet? It may sound crazy, but making healthier changes to your diet can really help improve your nightly rest. If you don’t believe us, we implore you to keep reading and hear us out. You may be surprised by what you learn.
What Exactly Is a “Poor Sleep Diet”?
When it comes to a poor sleep diet, you have to pay close attention to the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. Drinking and eating the wrong foods can wreak havoc on your ability to fall asleep at night and get the quality rest your body needs. So if you want to improve upon your sleeping habits, you’re going to have to moderate your intake of the following foods and beverages – or eliminate them all together.
Yes, Alcohol Is Ruining Your Sleep
We know this is going to be difficult news for a lot of people to hear. After all, how easy is it to fall asleep after a night of drinking? How much better do you sleep after taking a nighttime cold medicine – which, spoiler alert, is at least 10% alcohol in every dose? In a way, alcohol’s ability to make you fall asleep is similar to that of prescription sleeping pills; it’ll get you to sleep, but you’ll still get extremely poor quality sleep. And in the long run, getting poor quality sleep can be just as bad as getting no sleep at all.
The sleep you do get from a nightcap or dose of cold medicine or from drinking to the point of excess is short-lived for most people. Getting to sleep with the help of alcohol shortens your sleep cycle and reduces the number of hours of sleep you get. So when you wake up from your drunken stupor, you’re getting the double whammy of sleeping fewer hours and sleeping more poorly.
Lastly, falling asleep while you are still under the influence takes a huge toll on your body. Instead of detoxifying your brain and fixing the damage of your day, your body is metabolizing alcohol instead. This can cause systemic damage through every single cell in your body and, over time, lead to some serious health consequences due to poor sleep.
Caffeine and Sleep
Alcohol is bad for your body in many ways – sleep especially. But caffeine really only has a negative effect on your sleep patterns. Don’t get us wrong – it’s okay to use caffeine to help pep you up in the morning, especially if you’ve had a particularly restless night before. But drinking a single drop of coffee or taking caffeine pills after 12 p.M. Should be a big no-no in your book. Although you may not feel it, caffeine’s excitatory effects linger in the body long after you’ve had your final sip. And if there’s still caffeine circulating through your bloodstream when you put your head on the pillow, you will likely have trouble falling asleep. Even if you do sleep, the quality of your sleep may not be so great.
Spicy Food Can Keep You up at Night
Again, this is another entry where indulging yourself during the daytime hours can be relatively harmless; it’s when you eat spicy food too close to bedtime then it becomes problematic. Indigestion and heartburn can be painful and uncomfortable enough when you’re sitting or standing upright during the daytime. But when you are lying flat on your back in bed, it’s the worst. The acidic fluids in your stomach can easily slip back up into your esophagus causing a painful, burning sensation that you wouldn’t feel if you were sitting upright. Propping pillows under yourself to stay somewhat elevated can be an answer, but it can also be a very uncomfortable sleeping position for a lot of people.
The Connection Between a Poor Diet and Poor Sleep
Although what you eat is important, the when and how you eat are almost as important, too. Furthermore, if you aren’t getting enough exercise, that’s another aspect of your poor sleep diet which you should try and fix. Exercising earlier in the morning is best, but even exercising in the afternoon or evening is better than no exercise at all.
You should also work on improving your daily eating schedule. Unfortunately, most of us tend to eat the opposite of the way we should. The average person eats little to nothing for breakfast, a moderate lunch or snacks all day, and a huge dinner right before they go to sleep. This is very bad for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons include weight gain, poor sleep, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty staying asleep.
The best way to fix this is to follow an inverted pyramid type of diet: make breakfast your biggest meal of the day, followed by moderate lunch and a late dinner. Furthermore, make sure you eat most of your carbs in the morning and most of your protein in the evening. This helps deliver the nutrients your body needs when it needs them most and can also prevent you from storing food as fat while you sleep.
Another thing that trips people up is counting calories and/or points instead of focusing on the nutritional content of their food. There are plenty of low calorie, nutrient dense food out there that most people aren’t eating simply because they don’t taste as good. If you try to shift your palate towards these nutritious, low calorie foods, not only will you lose weight but your body will be able to produce more of the sleep hormones it needs to get easy, quality rest.
If you’re trying to fix a poor sleep diet, there’s one thing you definitely need to add into the mix: an herbal sleep supplement. These usually contain many ingredients which are natural, safe, and effective at helping you relax. In addition to moderating your unhealthy food and beverage intake while improving the quality of the food you eat, a natural sleep aid is perfect for helping you improve your sleep diet.