diet and sleep
Our sleep and daily nutrition are integral parts of our everyday life and important building blocks for our health, performance and well-being. Here you can find out how daily nutrition influences our sleep and why an adequate supply of nutrients can contribute to significantly improving sleep and falling asleep.
Table of Contents
- Nutrition & Sleep
- How sleep affects nutrition
- This is how nutrition affects sleep
- Nutrition tips for good sleep
1. Diet and Sleep
We spend about a third of our lives sleeping for good reason. Numerous regeneration processes take place during sleep, the hormone balance and metabolism are regulated, and experiences of the day are processed in our brain. In addition to good sleep, a balanced and healthy diet is of great importance for 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 replenish the important energy stores and provide new energy for the coming day.
Our sleep and daily nutrition are therefore fundamentally in healthy interaction. A healthy diet and a balanced supply of nutrients have a decisive influence on our sleeping patterns and how we fall asleep, while the duration and quality of our sleep at night can have an impact on our eating habits.
2. How sleep affects nutrition
Even during the night and especially during the deep sleep phases, the body needs many nutrients in order 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 throw the hormone balance out of balance.
Our feelings of hunger and satiety are mainly controlled by the two hormones leptin and ghrelin, and while we produce more of the appetizing ghrelin during the day, leptin ensures that we don't feel any appetite while we sleep. Various studies show that a lack of sleep impairs this hormone cycle and promotes a pronounced feeling of hunger during the day, so that people eat more and more frequently during the day if they did not get enough sleep the night before. Prolonged lack of sleep also slows down fat metabolism, puts the body under stress and has a negative effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Sufficient and restful sleep is therefore an important factor for healthy eating behavior during the day and should not be forgotten even if weight loss is desired.
3. This is how nutrition affects sleep
How, what and when we eat determines the type and quality of energy and nutrients we provide to our bodies. Daily nutrition influences numerous processes in our body and affects, among other things, the metabolism, our hormone balance and supports normal bodily functions, which, for example, regulate the sleep-wake cycle and enable us to fall asleep quickly and have a restful night. With a sensible eating behavior and the avoidance or intake of certain nutrients, falling asleep and sleep can be improved in a targeted manner.
Eating behavior & sleep
Consuming difficult-to-digest foods, especially just before bedtime, can negatively impact sleep as the digestive organs work intensely and keep the body busy. It is therefore advisable not to eat the last meal too late, so that the digestion process is completed before going to bed and sleep is not disturbed. For a healthy diet that has a positive effect on sleep, it also makes sense to combine proteins, carbohydrates and fats in a balanced ratio. Basically, carbohydrate-rich foods can contribute to falling asleep faster, while a protein-rich diet can have a positive effect on the quality of sleep. 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 negatively impact sleep. Caffeine promotes alertness and stimulates the nervous system, making it 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 lead to problems falling and staying asleep.
Certain foods also provide valuable nutrients that can have a positive effect on falling asleep and the quality of sleep. These include, for example, the sleep hormone melatonin, which is responsible for a healthy sleep-wake cycle, and its precursor L-tryptophan, as well as the mineral magnesium. In this article, you can find out which foods and nutrients your diet can use to promote falling asleep.
4. Nutrition tips for good sleep
➥ In the last hours before going to sleep, do without nerve-stimulating stimulants with caffeine, large amounts of alcohol or nicotine.
➥ 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 disrupt 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) as well as pumpkin seeds & whole grain products (magnesium).
Nutrition and sleep are actually in an important interaction. While sufficient and restful sleep contributes to pursuing healthy eating habits, the way we eat and supply nutrients makes a decisive contribution to the quality of our sleep at night and the process of falling asleep in the evening. If you want to improve your sleep in the long term or have a positive influence on your own eating habits, you should also support the other area so that nothing stands in the way of a healthy and productive everyday life!
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