Nothing beats the joy of getting a restful sleep at night. It gets you feeling all powered up and bursting with energy the next morning. This is the good side of getting enough sleep in a day. But what happens when you get deprived of sleep?
Not getting enough sleep can cause problems in terms of memory, concentration and productivity. It may also weaken your immune system and make you susceptible to different types of diseases. There are a lot of possible causes of sleep interruption and deprivation and it is up to us to address it properly.
Since quality sleep is achieved through the balance of the combination of various factors such as sleep routine, exercise, and diet, it is necessary that a person exerts enough effort to do well in every aspect. Time management and establishing good sleep hygiene is one thing. But did you know that the food and drinks you take in can affect your quality of sleep too?
Everything we take in whether food or beverage has an effect on our body. Hence, it is important to know how it affects us so we can troubleshoot and find ways to make sure our bodies are prepared for slumber before bedtime. Let’s find out how our diet affects our sleep quality.
How Diet Affects Sleep?
The body needs essential vitamins and nutrients to function well. A healthy body will have systems producing the right hormones and neurotransmitters to keep our circadian rhythm or body clock functioning. When we feed ourselves with the wrong food and drinks, these processes, hormones and neurotransmitters also go into havoc. So what can we do to achieve a restful sleep every night?
- Caffeine Intake
There is no harm in drinking coffee or any beverage with caffeine. However, drinking it a few hours before your sleep can keep you awake and agitated at night. Caffeine halts the production of sleep-inducing chemicals.
It also somewhat puts our body into fight mode because of the increase in adrenaline in our system. It stays for up to six hours after intake, so it is only wise to limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon or at night. Someone who wants to fall asleep faster should stay away from caffeine hours before sleep.
- Alcohol Intake
A lot of people think that having booze before bedtime can give them quality sleep. While it is true that taking in a glass of red wine or other type of alcohol can contribute to making someone feel sleepy, it should be noted that its effects do not end there. Alcohol gets you to sleep in a rather harsh way, but then your body fails to go through the proper cycles correctly. Your body is put to a lighter stage of sleep, which makes you feel tired and restless upon waking up. So it is wise to take in alcohol five to six hours from your bedtime and not any later.
- Heavy Meals, Fat and Spices
It may be tempting to feast on a big meal with tons of fat and spices before sleeping, but one or the combination of all three can have you feeling uncomfortable when sleeping. The body needs ample time to digest food in the body, but when you sleep right after having a heavy meal, you may end up getting indigestion. You are also very prone to experiencing gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) which may cause heartburn and discomfort. So go easy on fatty, spicy and calorie loaded food when it is near your bedtime.
- Sugar Intake
Sugar plays a part in keeping us alert and alive throughout the day. It contributes to the amount of energy we have to do all the things included in our daily activities. However, if your bedtime is nearing, it is good to cut back on sugar.
When you take in too much sugar, it affects your blood sugar level and causes energy surges. It gives you instant energy and then leaves you with crashing energy levels after. This may make you want to take in naps that aren’t as quality especially when it is timed poorly. This may also get you snacking on sweets and other energy boosters.
Taking in sugar is fine, however, make sure to limit it and mind the timing to keep your energy level to a constant. Having dips and dives can exhaust your body and make your sleep pattern more irregular. Having a stable energy level can also keep you from making unhealthy choices relating to the food you take.
- Water Intake
We all know the importance of being hydrated throughout the day. It facilitates better organ and body system functioning. Lack of it can make you feel tired, irritable and unable to focus. This also plays a big part in our sleep.
When you are poorly hydrated before going to bed, your mouth along with your nasal passages can run dry. When this happens, you are more likely to snore and be awakened in the middle of the night. Frequent sleep interruption can hinder you from getting quality sleep.
Though hydrating is important, you have to remember to limit your fluid intake a few hours before bedtime. This is because chugging in a lot of water an hour before sleeping can leave you getting up in the middle of the night for bathroom trips. So drink a lot of water throughout the entire day and go easy on it before your bedtime.
You may think that the quality of your sleep depends on the amount of work you do in a day, or in the number of hours you make time for it. While these are all true, you must remember that your diet has a huge impact on it too. The food and beverages you take in does more than what you think it does. All its contents partnered with the time you take it in can make you feel active, energized or tired. You decide. So before you take something in, think about its effects to your body. Only then can you maximize and make your diet work for your own preference and needs.