Sleep may be the last thing on your mind when you tucked into that delicious peri-peri fried chicken burger with extra wedges at lunchtime.
But what you eat during the day can have an effect on how well you sleep at night.
Learn how to eat well and sleep well. Your body will reward you with a good night’s sleep.
Making meal choices based on calorie counting or nutritional value will help keep your weight in check. But have you ever considered that your food choices might also affect the quality of your sleep?
The three meals you choose each day – as well as any snacks you throw into your daily diet – go a long way to affecting your health as a whole and not just your waistline!
When it comes to making good food choices, your body's need for a good night's sleep should also be on your mind.
Let's face it – it should go without saying that scoffing a pizza before retiring for the evening isn't exactly a recipe for a restful night.
To make sure you're eating balanced meals that will benefit you all day and well into the night, there are certain foods you should look out for – as well as some that you should try to avoid altogether.
You might not think about it while eating your lunch in broad daylight, but nutrition plays an essential role in our sleep. If you want to align your diet to have the most optimal sleep, aim to eat more foods or drinks that boost your brain’s level of serotonin, a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter.1 While some foods contain serotonin, they may not help because the serotonin in them won’t make it through your gut to your brain. However, you can sidestep this problem. Eating certain foods encourages the production of healthy gut bacteria which can in turn, happily produce serotonin for your brain to enjoy.2
The foods you want to add are the high fibre carbs such as wholegrain pasta, brown rice and chickpeas. Pairing these wholegrains with your evening meal is a good foundation for sleep and will give those gut bacteria plenty to chew on.
Just as there are foods that help you sleep others may work against you and can be detrimental when it's time to get some shut-eye:
Now that you've got the naughty and nice list for your sleep-inducing diet, you might want to do some further reading. While a diet overhaul can benefit your rest, there are other things you can do to ensure you are well rested – firstly, you can read our eBook '8 ways to sleep better tonight' which is jam-packed with advice that will help ensure you're sleeping soundly as soon as possible.
There's also something else you should keep in mind: There's not much benefit in making optimal food choices if you're overindulging on them.
Eating too much may not only lead to weight gain due to a blow out in calorie consumption, but it can be detrimental in getting a good night's sleep. When you sleep, you're actually allowing your body to go to work and digest everything it's consumed – so if you gorge too much throughout the day, you'll be in for an interrupted night as your body literally tries to stomach the day's takings!
The lesson? Cut down to healthy portion sizes and eat right to sleep tonight.
Interestingly, if you've had a good night's rest, you're more likely to be happier and less hungry – resulting in better food choices the next day so you can enjoy a cycle of good food -– and great sleep!
While food does have some impact on the quality and quantity of sleep we get, sleep issues can have a lot of contributing causes. If you are having issues with your sleep, the tips in this article may help, but you may want to look into other factors affecting your rest. Find out what might be affecting your sleep by taking our free online sleep assessment or learn more about home sleep tests.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-foods-high-in-magnesium#section9 accessed 1 July 2019.
https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/101-109.htm accessed 9 Oct 2019
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