How a healthy diet can improve your sleep
Nutrition plays a big role in getting a good night’s sleep. We show you what to eat and what to avoid in order to improve your sleep.
Are you one of those people who can’t get to sleep or have difficulties sleeping through the night? Many people suffer from sleep problems that, if left untreated, can become chronic and lead to concentration problems, stress and fatigue. What many people don’t know: Nutrition is one of the most common causes of sleep disorders. Fortunately, it can be changed quickly with a few tricks so that you can sleep undisturbed at night again and find the rest you’ve been waiting for.
Why your diet can disturb your sleep
We make sure we have a comfortable mattress, air the bedroom properly before going to bed and darken the windows so we can sleep well at night. Unfortunately, nutrition often remains overlooked. Yet it plays a big – if not the biggest – role in healthy sleep.
If you eat a hearty meal or drink a coffee or glass of wine before bed, you’ll know only too well the effects of certain kinds of food. They stimulate your circulation and weigh heavily on your stomach, keeping your body busy digesting for hours.
The fact is, food can have a major impact on sleep, which is why you should take a look at your eating habits if you want to sleep better at night. Food can have a big impact on sleep, which is why you should carefully consider what to eat or drink before bedtime, as the tips below show.
Here’s how you can influence your sleep through your diet
1. Do not eat heavy meals at night
One of the best tips for a better night’s sleep is to stop eating rich meals before going to bed. Many people, especially in their professional lives, have become used to postponing their main meal to the evening. However, this is not a good idea for a healthy night’s sleep, because rich and heavy meals are anything but conducive to sleep. They are lying very heavily in your stomach and are an unnecessary burden for the digestive system, which only runs on low flame during evening hours. Instead of dealing with digestion, the body’s focus at night is regeneration.
Another point is the energy you consume, which you no longer need in the evening. While it’s good to eat a lot in the morning to have enough energy for the day, in the evening the large amount of energy not only disturbs your sleep – it can also show up on the scales in the long run.
Therefore, you should eat light meals – preferably 3 to 4 hours before bedtime, for example a vegetable soup with potatoes or a crunchy salad with nuts. These meals provide the body with important essential nutrients that help you sleep. Small meals are also much easier for the body to digest, so the focus at bedtime is no longer on digestion.
2. Avoid alcohol
Even though alcohol initially gives the impression of promoting sleep, the opposite is what actually happens. Alcohol is said to keep the body from entering the deep sleep phase. For this reason, it is better not to drink alcohol before bedtime.
3. Avoid sugar
Chocolate and other sweet snacks made from sugar and white flour can disturb your sleep. Therefore, stay away from simple carbohydrates, which can cause your blood sugar level to fluctuate and promote cravings. The result: you are awake more often at night and cannot fall asleep or sleep through the night properly.
4. Increase your tryptophan intake
A balanced circadian rhythm is important for a healthy sleep. Nutrition plays a major role here – especially in relation to the sleep hormone melatonin. The body’s own hormone is produced in the pineal gland after nightfall.
Did you know that you can help boost your melatonin production? For example, by eating foods that contribute to the production of melatonin. These include bananas, eggs, salmon, milk and dairy products, nuts (walnuts and peanuts) and cashews. They contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is needed for melatonin production. For example, drinking a glass of warm milk or eating a handful of nuts in the evening can improve your sleep.
5. Drink herbal tea
If you want to sleep better at night, get into the habit of drinking a cup of tea with hops, chamomile, lemon balm and/or lavender before going to bed. These herbs are said to have a calming and sleep-inducing effect.
6. Eat sour cherries
Similar to protein-rich foods, sour cherries can also help you fall asleep. Unlike eggs, nuts and bananas, sour cherries do not contain tryptophan but melatonin, so they improve melatonin levels in an even more direct way. In addition, sour cherries are said to have a high antioxidant content, which can contribute to better muscular recovery. Alternatively, to eating sour cherries, you can drink sour cherry juice.
Conclusion: Improved sleep through optimal nutrition
If you sleep badly at night and are anything but well-rested in the morning, you should take a look at your diet. Caffeine, fatty and rich meals, as well as sugar, can disturb your sleep. You should rather opt for light meals and those foods which the body can use to produce the sleep hormone melatonin.
Your Humanoo Team