Whether it’s a late night or your children are keeping you awake, most of us are no strangers to a broken night’s sleep once in a while. But if you struggle regularly with getting to sleep, it may be worth asking: could the answer to your lack of shut-eye be hidden in your diet?
Scientists based in the US believe that there’s a strong relationship between the bacteria living in your gut and the quality of your sleep, as your microbiome plays a big part in altering your body’s sleep-wake cycle as well as the hormones that regulate your feelings of tiredness and wakefulness. Certain foods can also upset your natural rhythms.
Friday night pizzas and sweet treats are things to enjoy in moderation to fend off weight gain, but foods high in gluten and sugar are also known to upset your microbial systems, which can make it difficult to get your eight hours if eaten too close to bedtime. Tim Spector, Professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, believes that you can improve your sleep by changing what you eat and says that you should eat a varied diet with plenty of unprocessed high-fibre foods to do so. But what does a broad diet actually look like, and when should you be enjoying your food so it doesn’t disrupt your sleep?
Well, as Tim Spector says, avoiding unprocessed foods is key to a good night’s sleep, so you should take care to include lots of green vegetables in your diet, particularly in your last meal of the day. Broccoli and Kale are great greens to eat when trying to help with your sleep, as they are rich in calcium and known to encourage feelings of tiredness. Avoiding snacks before bedtime is also wise; however, going to bed on an empty stomach can be worse for your sleep, so opt for nuts, seeds or yoghurt if a bedtime snack is a must.
Once you’ve gotten your ideal meal schedule right, how about thinking about where you sleep? After all, no matter how tired you are, your routine will definitely be affected if where you lay your head is uncomfortable. Are your pillows still fit for purpose? Or is it time to consider investing in a new mattress? These are all things worth looking into for the health of your sleep.
Will you be switching up your meal plans to help you sleep better? Let us know in the comments section below.