Which Foods and Drinks should You Have or Avoid For Better Sleep?
How Much Does Diet Effect Our Sleep?
Diet does play a role in affecting our sleep quality. Many of the neurotransmitters involved in sleep are synthesised from the food we eat, which makes the type of food and the volume of certain foods we consume essential factors in our sleep quality.
Even though many studies disagree on whether caffeine affects sleep, it does. Caffeine doesn't appear to have a significant effect on REM sleep, which is the period where dreaming occurs.
It does have an impact on NREM sleep, prolonging the time it takes to fall asleep, shortening total sleep time, worsening sleep quality, reducing deep sleep time, and resulting in more frequent awakenings.
Why We Need NREM Sleep…
- Human Growth Hormone is released (HGH), which we need for building muscles and losing body fat. HGH production can be reduced by 50% when we drink caffeine.
- Physical restoration – NREM sleep also triggers the release of many different cell factors in our body to be ready for the next day; the kidneys will replenish salt stores, the brain and muscles replenish sugar and fat stores, and so on.
Caffeine may cause daytime drowsiness thanks to its impact on sleep cycles. This creates a vicious cycle because sleepiness during the day is often the reason many people turn to coffee in the first place. If you've ever felt "addicted" to coffee, this could be why!
To ensure you get a good quality sleep cut out caffeine and if you're looking to get high-quality NREM sleep, then try and do these three things:
- Eat your Greens. - This has a massive impact on your gut bacteria. Having healthy gut bacteria promotes NREM sleep.
- Avoid light before bed. Light can affect your melatonin release.
- Make sure you get adequate magnesium from your diet.
Is alcohol bad for sleep?
Yes, alcohol can ruin the Quality of Your sleep…Sorry.
A lot of people may indulge in a couple of glasses of wine or beer in the evenings, thinking it will help them to fall asleep faster, which may be correct. However, it affects the quality of sleep and will often leave you feeling exhausted the next day even if you think you've slept a long time.
Alcohol is very bad for REM (Rapid eye movement sleep)
- Drinking before bed can interfere with REM sleep and your body's natural circadian rhythm.
- The higher the amount consumed, the more disrupted REM can become.
- REM begins much later, no matter the amount of alcohol consumed.
What Are The Benefits Of REM Sleep?
- Helps us become more Emotionally balanced:
- Helps us to Learn Faster
Which Foods Have An Impact On Sleep?
Bananas - Contain Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted to Serotonin. Throughout the day, Serotonin is converted into Melatonin which regulates our sleep and wake schedule.
Fish - Contain lots of Omega 3. Omega 3 can help us produce more Melatonin which will help you feel more drowsy in the evenings and potentially help you to fall asleep faster.
Green Veg - As mentioned above, green veg is great for the bacteria in our gut. Having robust gut health is good for our sleep. Great for both REM and NREM sleep.
Milk - also contains tryptophan. Helping us produce more Melatonin to regulate our sleep and help us feel tired in the evenings.
We wouldn't recommend putting all of these in a smoothie, but you can implement them into your daily diet.