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The Impact of Diet on Sleep Quality

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA
May 26, 2023
5:32 pm

A growling stomach and several trips to the bathroom don’t make bedtime a restful experience, yet many people are unaware of the impact that diet has on sleep quality. Your meal choices may also make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially if you already suffer from a sleep disorder. Many beloved foods and drink cause sleep problems. Find out what foods and ingredients play a role in keeping you awake and which promote a restful night’s sleep.

Food That Keeps You Awake

Food with a high glycemic index causes blood sugar levels to spike and drop. These significant fluctuations cue your body to release hormones that can make you irritable and anxious. Eating unhealthy meals can worsen your symptoms if you already have insomnia, anxiety, or mental health problems.

Stay Away From These Foods

Alcohol & Sleep Quality

Alcohol is commonly used as a sleep aid. The popular drink “nightcap” got its name for a reason. Though alcohol does help you fall asleep faster, it’ll disturb your sleep later as your blood alcohol levels drop. For more restful sleep, consider a natural, non-alcoholic drink instead, like the ones in our Happy Sleepy Powder Bundle.

Food That Promotes Sleep

Plenty of other foods contain nutrients known to improve the quality of sleep. Many are natural sources of sleep-regulating hormones and brain chemicals, like melatonin, serotonin, and tryptophan. Some are rich in magnesium, antioxidants, and protein — all of which encourage sleepiness. Eat the most sleep-promoting foods 2-3 hours before bedtime to get the most out of them.

Eat More Of These Foods

Does A Heavy Dinner Make You Sleep Poorly?

Eating a big, fatty dinner late at night is often the recipe for poor sleep. While a high-fat meal doesn’t help, the sleep issue stems less from how much you eat and more from when you eat.

Eating late at night also forces your digestive system to keep working while trying to rest. These muscles working late means you’ll have a more challenging time falling asleep and miss out on deep, restful sleep.

What To Do For A Midnight Snack

Being mindful of when you eat can be just as important as paying attention to what you eat. Leave at least two hours between dinner and bedtime. If a growling stomach keeps you up, then grabbing something small is okay. The best midnight snacks are rich in protein or fiber.

Learn To Sleep Better, Holistically

We are what we eat, and a poor diet can make sleeping more difficult. Decrease the odds of waking up in the middle of the night by limiting the foods which keep you alert, particularly later in the day. You can replace them with other foods and drinks rich in critical ingredients that enhance the quality of your sleep.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.