Our sleep and daily nutrition are integral parts of our everyday lives and important building blocks for our health, performance and well-being. Find out how our daily diet influences our sleep and why an adequate supply of nutrients can help to significantly improve sleep and falling asleep here.
Table of Contents
- Nutrition & Sleep
- How sleep affects nutrition
- How nutrition affects sleep
- Nutrition tips for good sleep
Nutrition & Sleep
We spend about a third of our lives sleeping for good reason. During sleep, numerous regeneration processes take place, hormone balance and metabolism are regulated, and the experiences of the day are processed in our brain. In addition to a good night's sleep, a balanced and healthy diet is also of great importance for our health and performance in everyday life, because our body depends on sufficient energy and a good supply of nutrients both during the day and during sleep. At night, when we regenerate, the body then works at full speed to refill the important energy stores and provide new energy for the coming day.
Our sleep and our daily diet therefore fundamentally interact in a healthy way. A healthy diet and a balanced supply of nutrients have a decisive influence on the way we sleep and fall asleep, while the length and quality of our sleep at night can have an impact on our eating habits.
How sleep influences nutrition
The body also needs many nutrients during the night and especially during the deep sleep phases to support the numerous regeneration processes and to fill the energy stores in the cells. Sleep problems or lack of sleep disrupt these regenerative processes and can also upset the hormone balance.
Our feeling of hunger and satiety is mainly controlled by the two hormones leptin and ghrelin, and while we produce more of the appetite-stimulating ghrelin during the day, leptin ensures that we do not feel any appetite during sleep. Several studies show that a lack of sleep interferes with this hormonal cycle and promotes a pronounced feeling of hunger during the day, so that people eat more and more frequently on average during the day if they have not slept sufficiently the night before. Prolonged sleep deprivation also slows fat metabolism, puts the body under stress, and negatively affects blood sugar and insulin levels. Sufficient and restful sleep is therefore an important factor for healthy eating behaviour during the day and should not be forgotten even if weight loss is desired.
How diet affects sleep
How, what and when we eat determines the type and quality of energy and nutrients we provide to our bodies. Thus, daily nutrition influences numerous processes in our body and, among other things, affects the metabolism, our hormone balance and supports a normal body function, which, for example, regulates the sleep-wake rhythm and enables us to fall asleep quickly and have a restful night. With a sensible eating pattern and the avoidance or intake of certain nutrients, falling asleep and sleep can therefore be specifically improved.
Eating behaviour & sleep
Consuming foods that are difficult to digest, especially a short time before going to bed, can have a negative effect on sleep as the digestive organs are working intensely and keeping the body busy. It is therefore advisable not to eat the last meal too late, so that the digestive process is completed before bedtime and sleep is not disturbed. For a healthy diet that has a positive effect on sleep, it is also advisable to combine proteins, carbohydrates and fats in a balanced proportion. Basically, carbohydrate-rich foods can help you fall asleep faster, while a protein-rich diet can have a positive effect on sleep quality. Proteins support the important regenerative processes during sleep and enable the absorption of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which our body ultimately needs for the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Food, certain nutrients & sleep
And certain nutrients also influence our sleep. Stimulating foods such as caffeine or large amounts of alcohol should be avoided in the late afternoon and evening, as they can have a negative effect on sleep. Caffeine promotes wakefulness and stimulates the nervous system, making it more difficult to relax before sleep and to fall asleep itself. Alcohol also has a negative effect on sleep due to the breakdown products produced during digestion and can cause problems falling asleep and staying asleep. However, certain foods provide valuable nutrients that can have a positive effect on falling asleep and the quality of sleep. These include the sleep hormone melatonin, which is responsible for a healthy sleep-wake cycle, and its precursor L-tryptophan, as well as the mineral magnesium. With which foods & nutrients the diet can promote sleep, you will learn in this article.
Nutrition tips for good sleep
➥ Avoid nerve-stimulating stimulants with caffeine, large amounts of alcohol or nicotine in the last hours before sleep.
➥ Pay attention to your fluid intake and drink enough throughout the day to keep your metabolism active. Water, light juice spritzers or unsweetened tea are best.
Heavy meals disturb your sleep. Avoid high-fat or high-sugar foods in the evening and have one last meal, as light as possible, up to 3 hours before bedtime.
➥ Some foods provide valuable nutrients that can have a positive effect on falling asleep. These include grapes & sour cherry juice(melatonin), bananas & almonds or the famous hot milk with honey (L-tryptophan), and pumpkin seeds & whole grains(magnesium).
So nutrition & sleep do indeed interact in important ways. While sufficient and restful sleep helps to pursue a healthy eating behavior, the way we eat and supply nutrients makes a decisive contribution to the quality of sleep at night and the process of falling asleep in the evening. Anyone who wants to improve their sleep in the long term or positively influence their own eating behaviour should therefore also support the other area in each case, so that nothing stands in the way of a healthy and productive everyday life!
Best regards and see you soon!