midnight snack eating in fridge

Sleep Hygiene & Healthy Eating Habits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three adults is not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep for a night or two isn’t serious, but consistently logging fewer than seven hours of sleep per night puts you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. 

Poor sleep habits can also impact your immune system, mood, and cognitive performance. To protect your well-being, it’s important to make an effort to improve your sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene refers to habits that could impact the quality of your sleep. Most people know that blasting loud music or leaving the lights on at night will keep them awake, but few are aware that other factors, including eating habits, will affect your ability to sleep. Here’s what you should know about the link between your eating habits and your sleep hygiene.

Eat this – but not that – to get a good night’s sleep

Making the right food and drink choices throughout the day can drastically improve your sleep hygiene. Certain foods and drinks will keep you tossing and turning all night, whereas others can make it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Some of the foods and drinks that have been proven to improve sleep quality include:

  • Tryptophan-rich foods, including milk, seeds, bananas, and eggs
  • Kiwi
  • Tart cherries and cherry juice
  • Fish with a high omega-3 count, including salmon, mackerel, and cod
  • Nuts
  • MANTRA Labs REST drink powder, which is made with ingredients that promote healthy sleeping habits, including melatonin, GABA and Suntheanine (L-Theanine).

If you want to improve your sleep routine, limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine can stay in your system for three to seven hours, so consuming these beverages later in the day may impact your sleep.

You should also avoid drinking alcohol at night, which can impact the quality of your sleep. Research shows that people who drink alcohol before bed fall asleep easier, but tend to wake up more often throughout the night.

Steer clear of spicy and high-fat foods close to bedtime, too. Eating spicy foods can cause heartburn, which can make you uncomfortable and keep you from falling asleep. Studies show that high-fat foods can interfere with the regulation of orexin, which is a sleep-regulating hormone.

How meal timing can impact your sleep

What you eat is important, but when you eat can also impact your sleep. For example, eating a heavy meal in the evening or at night can disrupt your sleep routine. Studies show that people who eat heavy meals before bed take longer to fall asleep, wake up more often, and spend less time in deep sleep.

To improve your sleep hygiene, consider following the circadian rhythm diet, which involves eating nutritious foods and aligning the timing of your meals to your body’s internal clock. Make breakfast the biggest meal of your day and dinner the smallest. Eating more early in the day will give your body plenty of time to digest your food before bed. You should also avoid eating when the sun isn’t out. This ensures you don’t consume foods or drinks that could impact your sleep too close to bedtime. 

Making these adjustments to what you eat and when you eat could lead to a great night of sleep.