Do you ever wonder if what you are eating is impacting your sleep? I routinely have patients who are having difficulty sleeping ask whether food might be playing a role in their inability to sleep well.
Difficulty sleeping is related to many factors including mental stress like anxiety and depression, as well as daily habits and behaviors, hormonal levels, medications and food choices.
If you have been dealing with sleeping problems consistently or have chronic insomnia (a disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep or both) it is a good idea to get in contact with a licensed naturopathic doctor or medical doctor for a visit.
These professionals can evaluate and help you address medical causes or mental conditions that are causing the insomnia.
Are there choices you can make about food that could help improve your sleep? There are a few hints that I can share with you that may help you get a better night’s sleep. After all there's nothing like a good night’s sleep, right?
Don’t drink alcohol before going to bed.
The May 2001 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that alcohol may actually cause more wakefulness and less restful sleep. The study found that participants had decreased sleep duration and woke up more during the night. It also found that women’s sleep was more often affected by alcohol than men's sleep.
Don’t get too caffeinated before bed.
If you are sensitive to coffee or caffeinated beverages it would be best to stop drinking them earlier in the day. If you drink them too close to bed you may find yourself awake because your body is not relaxed enough for sleep.
This means you should stop all caffeine by 2 or 3 p.m. You might be surprised to learn that you should stop that early in the day but if you get a good night’s sleep it will be worth it.
Don’t eat a meal late or just before going to sleep.
When you eat food late in the evening it can impact your ability to enjoy sleep appropriately.
When you eat just before you go to sleep you activate your digestive system, stomach acid and pancreatic secretions, and the muscles in the intestines to begin to process the food. That prevents the relaxation of the body for sleep.
You might also experience heartburn if you eat a big meal before lying down and you don't want that pain when you are trying to sleep.
Don’t go to bed hungry either.
It is interesting to note that going to bed hungry also interferes with sleep because the brain will not have enough glucose during the night. So to achieve the balance of using nutrition to help improve the quality of sleep, you should eat meals throughout the day, making sure to get your last meal three to four hours before sleep.
This strategy, in combination with finding and treating the underlying cause of sleep difficulties, can increase your chances of having a good night's sleep every night.
Try these simple changes and if they don't work, consider digging deeper to find the cause. You may be surprised to find that you have a hormonal imbalance or other medical condition that needs correcting.
If you want more information as to what could be causing your sleep problem go to my website, www.HealthyDaes.com and get more information and resources to help!