It’s no secret that what you eat sets the tone for how your body responds the rest of the day and night. But, did you know that the food you consume also significantly impacts your sleep? For example, according to John Hopkins Medicine, alcohol can at first help you sleep deeper, but if one makes a habit of having it regularly before sleeping — it is likely to cause memory problems, sleep apnea and sleepwalking. Spicy foods, too, should be avoided because they can cause heartburn and impact the quality of your sleep.
It also added that foods which have complex carbohydrates — such as wheat bread or a bowl of oatmeal — should be consumed before bed because they release the sleep hormone serotonin and don’t take too long to digest.
To know more about the impact of eating habits on the quality of our sleep, we reached out to experts. Aman Puri, Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, said, “Avoid acidic foods as they cause stomach distress leading to sleep disturbances. Foods which give satiety should be taken along with supplements that can give a calming effect.”
Talking about the Indian diet, Puri added, “Indian diet is low on protein, therefore, adding protein in every meal is very essential for overnight muscle recovery and proper functioning of the body. As we sleep, the body gets into a catabolic state wherein the muscles might feed on themselves to gain nutrition. Hence, one should add protein in their last meal of the day for both satiety and overnight muscle recovery.”
“Hydrate properly before sleeping and consume enough micronutrients, especially electrolytes so as to keep an electrolyte balance overnight,” the expert said
Dr Pradeep Rao, Director and Head, Department of Urology, Global Hospital, Mumbai said that while high carbohydrate meals induce sleepiness, they may not promote a good night’s sleep. “So, it is best to avoid a high carbohydrate meal at night (heavy on rice/chapati/bread/sugar). It’s best to complete dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime so that the dinner digests well. High-fat diet will also cause uneasiness during sleep. Best to avoid it at night. Any stimulants can cause disturbed sleep as well. Caffeine is notorious among these. So that filter coffee after your dinner may be a bad idea,” he said.