Just like a healthy diet and regular physical activity, sleep is critical for a healthy body and mind. Waking un-refreshed and feeling exhausted throughout the day can leave you feeling blah and impact mood, function, food choice and overall productivity.
Unfortunately, a good night's sleep isn’t necessarily a given and what we do during the day including diet wise, can determine how we sleep. If you are tired of tossing and turning at night, here are some foods which may be the reason you can’t sleep.
Dark chocolate before bed
It’s pretty well accepted that eating 2 squares of dark chocolate is a good dessert option for those with a sweet tooth. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine or cannot stop at 2 squares and polish off ½ a block, the caffeine content in chocolate could be impacting your sleep. The same goes for ‘raw treats’ often containing cocoa, which can also make an impact caffeine wise.
Low protein breakfast
Research has shown that eating at least 20-30g of protein at breakfast time can quash cravings and increased appetite at night time. Late night snacking less often involves vegetables and more often is associated with grazing on sugar and carb rich snacks. Going to bed with a belly full of sugar and refined carbs is likely to wreak havoc on blood sugar and disrupt sleep. If this rings true for you, pay attention to how much protein you are getting at breakfast time and throughout the day.
Low carbohydrate dinner
Keto style dinners may not do you any favours when it comes to a good nights sleep. This is because carbohydrates are needed for the body to manufacture tryptophan and serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sleep. Carbohydrates also contain vitamin B3 which, has been studied for its positive effects on sleep. It’s important to opt for complex fibre rich carbohydrates as opposed to heavily refined to better support blood sugar levels during sleep.
Low calcium diet
If you have given up dairy for a specific health reason and aren’t adequately replacing it with non-dairy calcium alternatives, this may be impacting sleep. Calcium works hand in hand with tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. Research has shown calcium levels in the body are highest during our deepest sleep stages and calcium deficiency has been linked to disturbed REM sleep.