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By Lauri Leadley

Lauri Leadley, Clinical Sleep Educator, President of Valley Sleep Center

To maintain a foundation for long-term health and well-being, it is important to know how your diet is affecting your sleep. Eating a healthy diet will improve the duration and quality of your sleep. When you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to crave foods that are high in fat, sugar, and caffeine. This vicious cycle can rob your body of its energy, vitality, and lead to weight and other health problems. Here are guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat to ensure the best night’s sleep.

How your diet is affecting your sleep valley sleep center

You should strive to eat a balanced diet that emphasizes low-fat proteins that are rich in B-vitamins. Research shows that B-vitamins regulate the body’s level of the amino acid tryptophan, which boosts your sleep quality and mood. A diet that contains too many unsaturated fats and added sugars can negatively impact the amount of deep sleep you get throughout the night.

  • What to eat for breakfast: Eat a light, nutritious breakfast first thing in the morning that includes nuts and fruits. Try a portion of mixed nuts with dates, figs, and fresh-squeezed fruit or vegetable juice. If you are going to drink a cup of coffee, this is the best time of the day. By eating a healthy breakfast, you are giving needed fuel for energy to the body, which helps the functioning of the biological clock.
  • What to eat for lunch and dinner: Choose from this list of foods that are rich in B-vitamins: whole grains (brown rice, barley), meat (poultry, red meat, fish), eggs and cheese, legumes (beans, lentils), nuts and seeds, and leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli). Keep your portion sizes reasonable, being careful not to eat too much that you feel uncomfortable or bloated. Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, and juice throughout the day. Staying hydrated promotes better daytime energy levels and reduces sluggishness, setting you up for better sleep at night. A healthy diet and good sleep will also help you lose any excess body fat. A reduction in extra body fat makes you less likely to suffer from sleep disorders, like insomnia, apnea, and restlessness.
  • What to eat before going to bed: You should not eat anything heavy before bedtime or go to bed on a full stomach. However, it is not a good idea to go to bed hungry. A rumbling stomach can keep you awake and a snack before bed helps stabilize blood sugar levels. A good bedtime snack includes yogurt, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, and legumes (beans, peas, or lentils). These are easy to digest and won’t make you feel too full.
  • What not to eat before bed: Uncomfortable issues that can keep you from sleeping are gas, bloating, heartburn, and not being able to get into sleep mode from ingesting too many stimulants. To avoid any of these problems don’t consume any of the following within 5 hours of bedtime: high fat and fried foods, really spicy foods, starchy foods like white bread and potatoes, anything that has caffeine, sugary foods and sweets, and alcoholic beverages. You should also avoid eating watery foods before bed like melons, cucumber, or celery, since those will likely cause you to wake up during the night needing to use the bathroom.

Valley Sleep Center – We Can Help You Sleep Better!

Do you suffer from sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder? If yes, then you need help. Contact us at Valley Sleep Center for an accurate analysis and treatment option for your sleep problems. To consult with professional sleep coach Lauri Leadley, please email us at sleep@valleysleepcenter.com