Does Our Nutrition Affect Our Sleep?

The older I get, the more I crave better sleep. Have you ever laid down at night feeling totally exhausted, yet you struggle to keep your eyes closed? Or, you fall asleep and a few hours later you roll over and you are wide awake? I struggle with both of these issues! I have spent hours researching how to sleep better, but one thing I haven’t thought about is my nutrition. Is food affecting my quest for better sleep? We go to food for energy, but can those same foods be getting in our sleep’s way? I asked the wonderful Kelly Fraser who is the Founder of The Nutrient Solution and is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about how my nutrition could be affecting my sleep.

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1. Are there foods that can actually help you sleep better?

There isn’t one magical food for sleep, but a small snack high in fat before bed can help you sleep soundly through the night. Often times waking throughout the night is a sign of blood sugar dropping, and a snack will help stabilize this so you can sleep peacefully. My favorite bedtime snacks are a spoonful of a nut butter, coconut manna with a sprinkle of cinnamon, ½ an avocado, a handful of nuts, some olives, or a hard boiled egg. Magnesium before bed is also great for relaxing the body.

2. Are there foods I should avoid that can interfere with my sleep?

Absolutely! Caffeine, sugary foods, and alcohol. Some people find that dark chocolate and dairy keep them up as well. Try experimenting to see what works best for you.

3. I know caffeine is not helpful when it come to falling asleep and staying asleep. Are there any good substitutes to help boost energy in the afternoons when I need a good pick me up?

Instead of grabbing a 3pm coffee, try naturally boosting your energy by stepping away from your screens and going outside to walk around the block. The natural sunlight will wake you up and help regulate your circadian rhythm, which will make it easier to fall asleep that night. Other natural energy boosts include drinking water, sipping on maca, or enjoying a high fat or protein snack, such as almonds.

4. I have seen those “Nighty night” sleep herbal teas. Do those work and how?

Those teas are created with a blend that promote the body to relax, not actually fall asleep. The act of drinking any warm, caffeine-free tea will help the body to unwind and prepare for sleep. When looking for a nighttime tea blend look for any combo of chamomile, valerian root, passionflower and lavender.

5. Is there a time of day I should stop eating so I sleep better?

Ideally you should consume dinner 3 hours before bedtime to give your body plenty of time to fully digest. A light snack right before bed is totally fine though and can help improve sleep quality.

6. Staying hydrated is a BIG thing however I always get my sleep interrupted by having to pee in the middle of the night. Should I cut off the water intake before bed or just deal with it?

Try limiting your water intake 2 hours before bed.

7. I always fall asleep great after a nice glass of wine but I almost always wake up in the middle of the night wide awake! is this a coincidence or is this the alcohol interfering with my sleep cycle?  

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but while alcohol may help you fall asleep, it does interfere with your sleep cycle. It causes you to wake through the night and blocks REM sleep, the most restorative type, which leaves  you feeling less refreshed in the morning. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your wine, just try to have it at least 3 hours before bed to give your body ample time to process it.

8. How does sugar interfere with our sleep?

Consuming high amounts of sugar at anytime during the day, and especially in the evening, directly impacts sleep quality for the worse. Sugar consumption results in large spikes in our blood sugar that eventually has to dip and creates low blood sugar. In response, the adrenals send out the stress hormone cortisol, which can wake us in the night, even hours after consuming the sugar.

9. Have special diets ever helped people with insomnia?

There’s no need for a specialized diet to help with sleep. Instead, focus on eating real food like fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality meats and unprocessed carbohydrates while limiting processed foods, especially those with added sugar.

10. When choosing foods for better sleep always ______ NEVER _______

“pick real foods” / “anything processed”

So, don’t snooze on nutrition pillows fans!

Let us know how nutrition has helped you sleep better in the comments below!

Kelly Fraser, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Founder of The Nutrient Solution www.thenutrientsolution.com

This entry was posted in Pillows and Bedding. Bookmark the permalink.

113 Responses to Does Our Nutrition Affect Our Sleep?

  1. Brenda Schrider says:

    If I only had one thing to eat for the rest of my life… It would definitely be ice cream

  2. Tammie Knott says:

    I dont eat late at night.

  3. Elicia P says:

    Well I just learned something. Foods high in fat can help you sleep longer. I find that the most interesting here.

  4. Tasha Dunbrack says:

    Great info!! Thank you for posting!!

  5. Bobbi Groce says:

    I know I sleep better when I’m not hungry. I don’t mean eating a meal right before going to bed but a filling snack, like high fiber (there’s these great banana bars that help me feel full or a bowl of oatmeal) helps me stay asleep longer and/or I don’t wake up starving and sleep eating or wasting precious sleep hours searching for food to eat

  6. I can never sleep with alcohol which is why I don’t drink. Awesome tips though.

  7. Jessica Bognear says:

    Gteat article

  8. Dawn says:

    Awesome

  9. Dawn says:

    Awesomeness

  10. Maureen Blatz says:

    Eat a piece of fruit never drink coffee, soda of tea to much caffeine

  11. Kathleen Walsh says:

    Great information. Now I know to stay away from sugary desserts before bedtime!

  12. Tammy Liscio says:

    I love all this information my sleep is literally non-existent.

  13. Laurie Strebe says:

    I always have a small amount of sweets before bed, chocolate or this time of year jelly beans. I do sleep throughout the night. I am of normal weight so it’s good to know this little treat helps me sleep, no more guilt. I always wondered when I should cut off the water/fluid intake. That is the only thing that once in awhile wakes me up (although I easily can fall back to sleep). Reading the whole article was very informational! Thanks for shedding light on this topic. I have patients I can relay this too as well as finding the right pillow for me! Thanks and Bless you!!!

  14. Rachel Honsvick DeMille says:

    Great article! Sleep is so important and I love these tips! Thank you!

  15. Heather Boswell says:

    Still struggling with this, sleep is so important, trying to adjust my eating habits but medications for chronic illness still interferes

  16. Heather Drew says:

    I would love to be a winner I would love to have some better sleep at night

  17. Julie says:

    I would say maybe it’s helped me. I unfortunately drink a lot of caffeine, so that works against me.

  18. Millie Waterman says:

    Loving this page!

  19. Candi barnes says:

    I’m glad I read this I’m going to try some of these ideas My problem is drinking cokes I’m addicted to cokes lol Thanks for this blog I will be trying some of these suggestions

  20. Candi barnes says:

    I’m glad I read this I’m going to try some of these ideas My problem is drinking cokes I’m addicted to cokes lol Thanks for this blog I will be trying some of these suggestions

  21. heather terry says:

    I sleep better by drinking chamomile tea about an hour before bed I stop eating around 8 pm and I also steer clear of processed foods or sodas I don’t drink a lot of caffeine so that helps u juice veggies every morning and this helps my energy level .

  22. LeeAnn P. says:

    caffeine anytime after noon definitely affects my sleep!

  23. Brooke Hickman says:

    I think what we eat does affect how well we sleep. I notice a difference in my sleep when i,eat better through out the day, and i notice how bad i slept whe.,i,didnt eat very well.

  24. Sue Barney says:

    Since i have stopped the late night sugary snacks my sleep has improved greatly.

  25. Jeannie Prosser says:

    Very good article!

  26. Betsy Domingue says:

    Will power is all it takes

  27. If there were only one thing I was able to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Lasagna.

  28. Patti Wilder says:

    Very good info..learned new insights

  29. Nicole says:

    I’m a heavy coffee drinker and I did know it effects my sleep pattern I will. Try some of your suggestions and see how much more rested I feel THANKS for the helpful tips.

  30. Janice Cash says:

    I drink a cup of Chamomile tea with honey before bedtime, and no more late night snacking and I fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

  31. Janette Polivka says:

    You know this really helped made me think. Even though I know things can keep you up, I don’t think we really consider the effects the things we eat can have such an impact. Great read!

  32. Barbara Mayes says:

    my husband needs to read this. he has insomnia every night. he eats way too much sugar and he should stop drinking water a couple hours before bed and take his magnesium pills I bought for him.

  33. Ange w says:

    Thanks for the info

  34. Jessica Edwards says:

    Wow that’s really interesting and useful! Thanks

  35. Diane Redcay says:

    Love that about eating Yes it real food eat healthier

  36. Susan Stickney says:

    I didn’t know sugar directly impacts sleep quality for the worse. Thanks for the info!

  37. Kuiann Rudolf says:

    Very interesting read..Thanks

  38. This was very informative! I can’t eat peanut butter before bed because it gives me nightmares!! Insane, right?!

  39. Audrey Stewart says:

    I live for sleep. I am up at 5:00 am and I work hard all day. I really enjoyed reading this. It was quite interesting. I have passed it along.

  40. Toni Sprouse says:

    I am amazed at how much our nutrition choices affect our sleep quality! Thanks for this information!

  41. Sue says:

    I’ve noticed the quality of my sleep is very dependent on the quality of my bedding. I’ve learned not to skimp on sheets and pillows.

  42. ronaldr says:

    good nutrition is important for a healthy life

  43. suet says:

    i believe nutrition affects how we look and feel

  44. Lauren says:

    When I eat fried food and lay down immediately I always have acid reflux! So nutrition really does affect your sleep!

  45. Lisa Shepherd says:

    It’s true that eating at least 3 hours before bedtime helps you sleep better!

  46. Rachel Beltz says:

    Cottage cheese and berries has always been my go-to before bed! The casein promotes sleep!

  47. Kevin kincaid says:

    I have recently started a diet(simply counting calories) and since starting I no longer seem to have heartburn, which was a chronic problem before. I would have heartburn through out the night and all through the day but I have not had it at all in weeks.

  48. Zoey Alison says:

    I’ve personally never had trouble with sleeping, however, I know a lot of people who have to watch what they eat because it keeps them awake!

  49. kerri ahner says:

    Nutrition is very important to getting a good nights sleep along with the right pillow. Thanks for all the great tips

  50. Annmarie W. says:

    I’m fortunate that most things don’t keep me awake at night (although I do limit caffeine before bedtime). I like your suggestion of a little avocado or olives or hard boiled egg before bed. I do find that if I’m feeling full after dinner, I usually find it more difficult to fall asleep…so I try not to eat too much before going to bed.

  51. Angella Richards says:

    I have definitely seen a difference when i have a cheat day and eat processed foods i stay awake a lot longer and feel sluggish the next morning so sometimes i weigh the consequences a cheat day over sleep 🙂 i also know different fruits and veggies make me sleep faster so i will eat those foods in the evening

  52. Jennifer P says:

    I like that no specialized diet is needed, if we all ate sensibly and real foods, it would help with a lot of problems we have these days.

  53. Paula Gillespie says:

    Unfortunately I have to drink water constantly due to a throat problem and because I do I have to get up often to go to the bathroom. So I never get a good night sleep 🙁

  54. Alexandria Tinnon says:

    I try not to eat sugary sweets before bed.

  55. Karen B says:

    Interesting – thanks!

  56. Valerie L says:

    I have not change my nutrition or notice I have trouble falling asleep

  57. I have always loved a small Peanut butter sandwich as a midnight snack. Good or Bad. I always thought peanut butter would made the stomach full and made me sleepy.

  58. Page Brewer says:

    Never considered that the piece of pie or cake you eat for desert could affect the way you sleep or don’t sleep.

  59. Mari B says:

    Thank you for sharing all of this helpful information. I have also found that stopping eating about a few hours before bed has personally helped me to lose weight.

  60. Pamela Brearley says:

    i have to cut out the caffeine after 3 pm or i am awake all night. love all the helpful tips here!

  61. Laurie Erickson says:

    I find it helps to eat a larger meal in the middle of the day, and lighter meal for supper. And, for me, a drink of milk (not warm, yuck!) at bedtime really makes me sleepy.

  62. Diane Scott says:

    Never get to old to learn something new. Didn’t know this. Eating what you do will effect your sleeping at night. I know eating past a certain time isn’t good for you. I know coffee after a certain time is not good and I get plenty of water. I learned quite a bit ready your blog today. Thank you

  63. Sandra McFadden says:

    The best way to get a good nights sleep for me sometimes is just be true to myself and good to others even in the worst of situations.

  64. Katie rodweller says:

    Great Info! Better sleep is what we all need!

  65. Nicole Watson says:

    I felt like this was about me. I do struggle to fall asleep and then some nights I struggle to stay asleep. Thank you for publishing this post. I’m glad I read it.

  66. Rosalind Lopez says:

    Wow, thanks for all this information. Definitely going to do my best when it comes to nutrition. I do really think this can be why some times I can’t get to sleep or sleep well. I know my diet has been lacking.

  67. Ellen Casper says:

    Great article – I plan on trying some of these tips.

  68. Rhonda Hagy Miller says:

    Good tips..makes me want to curl up and snoooooooze!!

  69. Mary W says:

    I put away the chocolate candy as I was reading this. Not only do i not need it, but it will interfere with my sleep. I learned something new by reading this article. Thanks!

  70. Brenda Disimone says:

    Thanks for the informative post!

  71. JANIS OTTERSON says:

    Good read!

  72. Wendy Pesce says:

    I have been exercising regualrly and eating batter the last month. I sleep better and have more energy over all

  73. Joe Arcuri says:

    Thanks for the awesome much needed advice!

  74. Helen Marie Jones says:

    Really helpful information! Thanks for sharing!

  75. Donna porter says:

    I was snacking too close to bed time and was not sleeping well. I now do not snack at least 3 hours before bed and rest much better!

  76. Denise Pope says:

    Awesome I would love to win . I need a firm pillow

  77. Calshondra Williams says:

    I do feel that eating healthier helps me to sleep better without waking up so much through the night.

  78. I Would love to win this Pillow, it looks very Soft.

  79. Jennifer H. says:

    I didn’t know how sugar interferes with our sleep. Thanks for the info!

  80. Hollie Newlin says:

    I have terrible insomnia & these sound like some great tips! Definitely going to give them a try! Thanks for sharing!

  81. Paula Hoffman says:

    I wasn’t aware of most of the information provided here. Maybe now I can get some better sleep!

  82. John H. says:

    I didn’t know that all these thing can affect your sleep.

  83. Thanks for the great tips. I will be eating dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime. Maybe this will help my stomach issues at night.

  84. Pauline Jones says:

    I never knew that nutrition affected your sleep. Really good to know since I have had insomnia for a long time now.

  85. Sylvia Svihel says:

    Great article and I will definitely start off small with a few of them and work my way up to a GREAT nights sleep 😀

  86. Sandy Weinstein says:

    yes, i find that eating certain foods can keep me awake or make me feel terrible in the am.i do wake up thirsty and drink something and then go back to sleep.

  87. LaMonica says:

    I’ve cut out most processed food. Our family doesn’t even out anymore. We’ve all felt better and slept better. Looking at the older generations. I think this is a move we all should make

  88. Joann Bodnar says:
  89. Rebecca Day says:

    Def some things to think on and try for better sleep thanks

  90. Sohair says:

    I try to make healthy dishes for me and my kids because I know it affects their health in general ty for the article

  91. Susan P. says:

    These are all good suggestions. Age seems to be a factor for shorter sleep cycles which nutrition may not help.

  92. Karen says:

    If I drink milk it keeps me awake at night.

  93. Sharon Yarrell says:

    My medication interferes with my sleep, but I always have been a light sleeper. Interesting questions.

  94. Tamara B. says:

    Good tips I had no idea about RE: Often times waking throughout the night is a sign of blood sugar dropping, and a snack will help stabilize this so you can sleep peacefully.

  95. Ashley Sammons says:

    I just started eating clean, a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds and I’m excited to see how this helps with my insomnia. Very good read!

  96. Debbie G says:

    Great article I love number 2 and 3. I have to get off of my cell and go work out and get a break. I turn it off at bedtime also to go to sleep.
    I never did before but I noticed I sleep better.

  97. Cherie Johnson says:

    I need to do a better job at avoiding those bad foods. I really need a good night sleep. I always wake up feeling like I never slept.

  98. Maddie Schmidt says:

    I honestly don’t think coffee bothers me like most people.
    I drink it late at night & I can still fall asleep.
    I also don’t eat RED MEAT/PORK or SEAFOOD…..
    Dinner is no later than 6 pm & after that I don’t est/snack….. except I drink water & coffee.

  99. Kriss says:

    This is good information. I knew about the caffeine and alcohol. The rest is news to me.

  100. Larry Davis says:

    If you eat and drink hour’s before you sleep will help you sleep awesome and if you are comfortable Will help your health so much and your pillows will help and thanks for the chance and opportunity to win a Awesome and magnificent giveaway!!

  101. amy stonger says:

    I had no idea!! Thanks for sharing!

  102. Alicia Hewitt says:

    I’m eating healthier fits and I’m noticing that my sleep has gotten more productive. Thank you for more tips I can utilize. This was very informative, and much appreciated!

  103. Amanda young says:

    You guys are the best love this blog

  104. Carla Williams says:

    It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, I just can not get a “good” nights sleep. I have to be extremely tired in order to get more than 6 hours sleep.

  105. Mag Blossom says:

    I’ve switched to water w/ fresh lemon juice at night instead of diet mountain dew. It helps to eliminate my thirst and sleep comes easier, too!

  106. kelly woods says:

    Thanks for sharing, this was very helpful.

  107. Margaret P. says:

    I have to limit sugar in the evenings or I don’t get a good night sleep.

  108. Phillicia says:

    Thanks for the advice it was a great read

  109. Craig Clarkson says:

    at first I thought I would just skim through the article but after reading the first couple of paragraphs I read it all. What I got out of the article is Nutrition is Key…

  110. Patti D says:

    To see it in black and white is the easy part- it’s the implementing it that’s tough!

  111. Sue Van Barriger Fishwild says:

    I believe nutrition affects all aspects of our lives, especially sleep. I know there are foods I will just not eat before going to bed because they keep me from getting a good nights sleep. I do like drinking a hot cup of tea before going to bed, I believe it really does help with my sleep.

  112. Sally Bridges-Stanbrough says:

    This is a great post! I have so much trouble sleeping and I believe nutrition affects all aspects of our life.

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