If you are one of the 40 million Americans suffering from chronic long-term sleep problems, you’ve probably tried at least one remedy or gimmick to help you get a good night’s rest. From supplements and sleep aids to noise machines and essential oils, there’s no shortage of therapies out there to help you catch some Z’s. But there’s one area that often gets overlooked in the search for a perfect night’s sleep – dietary habits.
Many common sleep problems can be linked to the kinds of foods we eat or when we eat them. The good news is that these issues are easy to treat with simple changes to our daily diets. Here are some common sleep issues that you may be able to alleviate by modifying your eating habits:
- Snoring – Approximately 90 million Americans snore during sleep. While this issue is often caused by enlarged tissues in the nose, mouth or throat, it can also be a result of dehydration. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and keep a glass of water on your nightstand so you can start hydrating first thing in the morning.
- Nightmares – Spikes and crashes in your blood sugar can disrupt your mood and cause nightmares. Counteract this by following a well-balanced diet with proteins, fat and carbs. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent sleep disturbances.
- Acid Reflux – Nighttime reflux often occurs when food has not had adequate time to digest before you lie down. Try to finish meals at least two to three hours before bedtime, and avoid late-night snacking. If you do indulge in a midnight snack, try to keep it low-fat and low in acid so it will digest quickly and not aggravate your digestive system.
- Wakefulness – Foods like turkey, soybeans and milk are high in tryptophan, a vital component of serotonin. Eating these foods mixed with starchy carbs can trigger the sleep-inducing effects of tryptophan to help you fall asleep faster.
- Poor Sleep Quality – That traditional nightcap or hot toddy might make you feel relaxed before bedtime, but it could be contributing to a poor night’s sleep overall. Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant, which could contribute to snoring or sleep apnea. It also disrupts your deeper levels of sleep, leaving you feeling lethargic and unrested the next morning
Dietary habits can have a significant impact on sleep quality, but there are several other factors that could be contributing to your sleep issues. If your symptoms persist despite making changes to your diet, schedule an appointment with your doctor. There are several tests and treatments to get to the root of the problem and help you get a good night’s rest (The Huffington Post).