Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Sleep and Nutrition

Nutrition and sleep are interconnected. If we eat an unbalanced diet that will reflect how we sleep and may lead to sleep problems. Having a lack of calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, C, D, E,  and K can disrupt your sleep patterns. This is more due to those micronutrients having an effect on the hormonal pathways involved in sleep. High carb meals can also increase the number of times you wake up during the night and reduce the amount of time you are in deep sleep. Frequent consumption of energy drinks and sugar sweetened beverages is also associated with poor sleep quality. The best “diets” for better sleep are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, however the dash diet is now under review for updates. That is just how nutrition affects sleep. Now onto how sleep affects nutrition. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to increase their food consumption and pick higher calorie foods. The production of hunger and appetite hormones can be thrown off after short periods of inadequate sleep. Sleeping can also reduce overeating. 

Ways to improve sleep: 

  1. Sleep hygiene such as keeping to a regular sleep schedule, regardless of the day of the week, have a set wakeup time

  2. Giving yourself plenty of time to relax and get ready for bed (avoiding screen time at least an hour before bed)

  3. Not eating right before bed

  4. Prioritize sleep, make gradual adjustments so you can adjust more easily to get to bed at a decent hour and wake up feeling refreshed (and eventually without the need for an alarm)

  5. If you are having problems falling asleep (i.e. after 20 minutes), don’t toss and turn, get up and stretch, read a book, or something else calming in low lighting