How does my diet affect my sleep and how can I fix it?

    Our eating habits speak volumes of how we treat ourselves and where our health stands on the list of our priorities. Seeing that how we eat largely determines how we live, we ought to pay a lot of attention to what we have on our plates every day. Unfortunately, we tend to think of our diet only when it’s high time to lose some weight or when another form of health problem comes up. However, our diet is crucial to leading a balanced life, and it affects everything, including our (in)ability to sleep. If you’re facing sleep issues and you don’t know what might be causing them, then think about what you’re eating and whether you should change your habits.

    Know when you eat

    Healthy food for healthy heart

    One of the biggest problems that you could have when you hit the sheets is the undigested food in your body. Your body, particularly your intestines are working in full speed, and you’re supposed to be resting and your entire metabolism should slow down for the night. If your body is still up and running, you can be sure that sleep won’t come easily, and chances are that when you do fall asleep, it won’t be replenishing and you’ll wake up throughout the night. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, then you might also be troubled by acid reflux which can really keep you up at night. The best solution to this problem is to eat earlier in the evening and allow your body to process the food normally. Having dinner three hours before you get to bed will make sure that everything slows down for the night and you’ll have a chance to get some much-needed shuteye.

    Nicotine is not your friend

    no smoking

    Smoking is bad for you and that’s hardly news, but nicotine can be the cause of sleep troubles too. It’s very often that smokers aren’t able to sleep the whole night without waking, and that can be due to nicotine in their metabolism. The problem here is that smoking can seriously disrupt the deep sleep phase, which is crucial to resting both your body and your mind. It’s not uncommon for regular smokers to wake up frequently every night at wee hours because they just can’t settle down and the reason is often their exposure to nicotine. If you’re a passive smoker, nicotine can still affect your sleeping patterns, though the damage might not be as permanent as it is with those who can’t spend a day without lighting a cigarette. To test if your nicotine consumption is what makes you fidgety at night, try not to smoke 2-3 hours before you go to bed and see how your body reacts – you’ll probably be surprised by the results.

    Coffee is not your friend

    Coffee Mug and Beans

    Maybe you’re an avid coffee lover and having a cup of joe in the morning is needed to wake you from the dead, but your metabolism might not be too happy about it. If you’re caffeine sensitive and a cup of coffee you had after lunch can keep you up at night, it is essential not to get near your favorite hot drink later in the evening. The reason why some people react stronger to caffeine is because their metabolism might be a bit slower and it can take caffeine up to twelve hours to leave the body, so it can rile up your sleeping patterns quite a bit. People who are troubled sleepers should in general try giving up all the habits that could in any way harm their because chances are that not only will you feel better in your own skin, but your sleeping will be significantly improved.

    Sugar and spice are anything but nice

    Sugar and Spice

    Having a big meal before you go to bed is certainly not a good idea but if you have a fatty spicy meal for dinner, chances are you’re in for a night from hell. Spicy food in moderation is good for you though it definitely should be avoided in the evening hours. The first problem to think about is the raised body temperature that can easily leave you sleepless and you might not even realize what the problem is. The truth is that the change in the temperature will be slight, but since it’s internal, your body will be overheated throughout the night. Another issue that spicy food lovers deal with is heartburn. The burning sensation in the upper abdomen is more than enough of a reason to keep you up and night and it can last for hours, which means no quality sleep for you, not to mention the nervousness and sometimes outright rage that comes after not being able to slumber for the most of the night. True, spicy food is delicious and tempting but if heartburn is your troublemaker when it comes to sleeping, then do your best to steer clear from it before you go to bed.

    It’s amazing how many problems we can fix just by adjusting our diet and the way we perceive food. If you’re constantly struggling with sleep deprivation, there might be something in your eating habits that causes all the commotion. Find what works for you and make a habit of it so that what you eat only improves your life, as well as your sleep.

    Holly S
    Holly S
    Holly is a 26-year-old health, and fitness instructor from San Jose, CA, who writes articles in her free time and blog at When she isn't helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.

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