How Eating Habits Affect Your Sleep/Wake Cycle
It’s no secret that our dietary choices are directly related to our health, but the effect that our diet has on our sleep is a lot less spoken about. If you are a shift worker, a sleep deprived parent, have insomnia or just struggle to get a good night's sleep - this one's for you! Creating a healthy eating-sleeping cycle can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
The Effects of Lack of Sleep
Did you know how well you slept the night before can determine your food choices the next day? Lack of sleep has been linked to increased snacking, increased overall consumption of food and the preference of high calorie foods that offer less nutritional benefit. Chronic lack of sleep is also associated with a number of other detrimental health risks like obesity/weight gain, cardiovascular disease and mental health issues.
Carbohydrates & The Sleep/Wake Cycle
Research has found that consuming highly processed carbohydrate rich food and drinks before bed affects your sleep quality that night, and increases the amount of times you may wake up through the night. So if you’re struggling to get the sleep you deserve - soft drinks, sugary desserts, and processed carbs (noodles, pasta, breads etc.) may be to blame!
Food Timings & Your Sleep
Additionally, breakfasts that consist of high carbohydrates, with a low protein content, have been found to induce drowsiness - so your breakfast should definitely be protein filled to set you up with energy for the day ahead.
You probably hear all the time how important breakfast is, but did you know that skipping breakfast is actually associated with poor sleep? Our bodies thrive the best with regular meals when it comes to sleep quality.
Large meals before bed can cause indigestion and reflux, which impairs sleep quality, so it is recommended to have dinner at least 2-3 hours before sleep. So, you should definitely eat enough at dinner - but be sure to also not to eat too much, as both ends of the spectrum can affect your sleep.
Are There Any Specific Diets That Can Help With Sleep?
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with better sleep health and sleep quality. The Mediterranean diet consists of nutrient dense foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein sources and healthy fat sources like extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish and nuts. It certainly does not focus on processed or high sugar/carbohydrate foods - so it's no wonder it benefits our health.
Other Food & Drinks That May Be Affecting Your Sleep:
- Caffeine. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 10 hours after ingestion - so if you’re struggling with your sleep, try and bring back your last dose of caffeine before 10-11am.
- Alcohol. Although alcohol may initially make you feel sleepy, it actually disrupts the quality of your sleep!
- Sugar. Sugar is linked to insomnia and poorer sleep quality, so put down the sugary snacks at night if this is you!
Foods to Help You Sleep Better
- Protein. Certain protein rich foods like almonds, turkey and fatty fish contain an amino acid called Tryptophan which helps the production of Melatonin, which is the hormone we need to feel tired at night but also for a good quality sleep.
- Kiwi fruits. Aka, the natural sleeping pill. Studies have shown that eating two kiwi fruits one hour before bed can increase sleep quality and shorten the time it takes to sleep!
- Moon Mylk. Our Moon Mylk is designed to help you get a better nights sleep by increasing restfulness and improving sleep quality. It contains no added sugars, too - so is perfect for when you're craving a sweet treat!
So after all this.. If you're a sweet tooth at night, but no longer want to affect your sleep at night - I’ve created a recipe that won’t disrupt your sleep contains ingredients that may actually enhance your sleep.
This recipe contains tryptophan rich nuts and our Moon Mylk - the perfect combination for a dreamy (& restful!) night’s sleep!
Here’s what you will need:
1 cup almond meal
1⁄4 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup shredded coconut
1⁄2 cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1⁄4 cup Rocky Road Moon Mylk
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
A pinch of sea salt (optional)
Here’s how to make it:
Line a small tray with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl
Press the mix into the tray and let set in freezer for 30 minutes.
Slice and enjoy!
Our most coveted Moon Mylk infusion contains a functional blend of unique herbs, vitamins and minerals designed to relax your mind & body and have a calming effect on your nervous system! Shop our Moon Mylk range here.