How you eat affects so many of parts of your life, but did you ever wonder how it might influence your sleep quality and patterns? We know all about sleeping clean (thanks to health queen Gwyneth Paltrow) and how using screens at night can throw off our sleep patterns, but it turns out that what and when you eat can also have a major impact on your shut-eye. We chatted with a couple of experts to find out what food choices will help us get a good night’s sleep.
WHAT YOU EAT BEFORE BED MATTERS
You might not think about how your last meal of the day affects your sleep, but nutritional biochemist and author Shawn Talbott, PhD, gave us the deets: “Diet can be extremely important for sleep quality. Eating the wrong things can interfere with our ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get good quality sleep.” On the other hand, eating the right things during the day and before bed can actually improve the quality of our sleep. Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, a Harvard-trained physician with expertise in both traditional and integrative medicine, agrees. “What you eat or drink hours before sleep can create breakdown products that impact and stimulate the brain to impede sleep,” she explains.
WHAT TO SKIP AT BEDTIME
Dr. Milosavljevic recommends staying away from foods high in protein or fat and anything caffeinated before you turn in. “Let’s say you eat a high-protein food before sleep,” she offers. “It takes a lot of digestive power to break down that food, and your digestive juices are activated. Your GI tract requires energy and is fully engaged in the process, which requires blood flow to be directed to that part of the body.” When she puts it like that, it makes total sense that it’s tougher to fall asleep when your body is working hard to digest what you just ate. Read more