What we put into our bodies matters, whether we’re talking about food, medicines or alcohol. It affects everything from the energy we had during the day the quantity and quality of the sleep that we get at night. Here are some of the ways that your diet affects your sleep quality and how you can avoid some of these problems and improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Late Night Meals
When you eat late at night, especially when you’re going to bed immediately after, your body has to spend quite a lot of energy on digesting what you just ate when it should be focusing on resting. You may think you’re just laying in bed while you sleep, but actually, your body is healing its muscles and putting up fortifications against illnesses that could come your way while your brain is dealing with the day’s memories and stressors. In order to get the best possible sleep, try to eat your meals 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed.
Spicy and Acidic Foods
If you are a fan of spicy and/or acidic foods, especially in your evening meal, you might be causing yourself some gastrointestinal distress that could be disrupting your sleep. If you are not used to eating these kinds of foods, your body doesn’t really know how to react to them and will often react with gas or needing to use the bathroom more often. This causes your sleep to be disrupted, making it harder for you to get REM sleep.
As you might know, alcoholic beverages tend to make it a little bit easier to fall asleep. However, they also lead to more sleep disturbances because you won’t be sleeping as deeply. Since they are liquids and usually consumed in the evening, you will also need to get up more often during the middle of the night to go relieve your bladder if you drink. This disrupts your sleep cycle, making it harder for you to get high-quality sleep and harder for you to get back to sleep. Since you are trying to go one year without beer, keep this in mind as another reason to avoid drinking.
While we recommend avoiding late-night meals, sometimes you just can’t quite get by without something to eat in the evenings. Going to bed hungry is going to be just as much of a distraction as going to bed on a full stomach. Funny how that works, right? If you need a snack, go for something simple with a dairy and carbohydrate combination like a bowl of cereal. Dairy products contain a lot of tryptophan, a hormone that makes us tired, and carbohydrates help the body to digest them faster.
Thus, the food will actually be helping you to sleep! Another thing that you can do to improve your sleep on a regular basis is to make sure that your mattress is comfortable and supportive for your particular needs.