Diet plays a large role in your overall health by ensuring your body stays strong, your mind sharp, and your ability to sleep well. Although eating a large meal makes you feel incredibly tired, you actually don’t sleep well because your body is too busy digesting such a large meal. Also, when you consume certain foods, they perk you up and keep you wired. So, what you eat can play a large role in your ability to sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping, then you may want to take a closer look at your diet and make appropriate changes that can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep therapist Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan suggests that the best food combination you can consume 30 minutes after awakening to promote sleep is eight almonds and two dates. Doing this will help kick-start your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, and, above all, help your body release the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin.
Dr. Ramlakhan explained, “It’s as simple as this: If you don’t [eat] breakfast, your body believes it is living in famine and produces stress hormones that are not conducive to restful sleep. But by eating breakfast, you’re letting your body know there is enough food and you are living in safety, which in turn switches on your sleep, energy systems. What’s more, eating breakfast can help you lose weight by speeding your metabolism by up to 10 per cent. It has a ‘thermogenic’ effect that can last hours after eating. Think of it like putting fuel into a fire and getting a bigger fire.”
Keep in mind that eight almonds and two dates isn’t enough to sustain your body for the morning. You can pair them with a smoothie or your regular breakfast, whether that is a bowl of cereal or even an egg.
Side effects of poor sleep
Sleep is an integral part of good health. Numerous health issues can arise when you don’t sleep well.
Studies have shown that people who do not get adequate sleep have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart-related problems. A lack of sleep can also cause weight gain.
Dr. Ramlakhan added, “Not getting enough sleep forces our body into crisis or survival mode. We start to run on adrenaline which makes us conserve energy and store fat particularly around the middle – this is called ‘truncal thickening’ – and we start breaking down our muscles. Being tired also makes us more reliant on caffeine and refined sugars during the day and these are all substances that will make us put on weight. Often people who have difficulty getting to sleep delay going to bed, and then snack as a procrastinating exercise or drink alcohol mistakenly believing it will make them more tired; these are all excess calories that will lead to weight gain.”
As you can see, it is highly important to get adequate sleep. But if you’re not, then you will want to talk to your doctor about any underlying issues that may be preventing you from sleeping.
Related: Simple diet changes to help improve your sleep