How diet affects sleep

Hard to believe, but true: every eighth German suffers from problems falling asleep. In addition to numerous factors such as sleeping habits or physical activity, nutrition also has a major influence on our sleeping behavior and can improve sleep and falling asleep through the intake of certain nutrients. We show you which foods have a positive effect on falling asleep and thus support our sleep in a natural way.

Table of Contents

      1. problems falling asleep
      2. Sleep & eating habits
      3. Foods that promote sleep
      4. Foods that disrupt sleep
      5. Conclusion

      Trouble falling asleep

      One in eight of us has trouble falling asleep - according to a study by Techniker Krankenkasse. Frequently, worries, stress or health problems are responsible for the fact that we cannot fall asleep despite being tired or that we sometimes wake up again and again.

      Numerous home remedies, such as hot milk with honey, are known to naturally promote falling asleep. Rightly so, because our diet has a major impact on sleep. Here you can find out how your eating habits affect your sleep and what foods you should eat before bed to help you fall asleep.

      Sleep & eating habits

      How, what and when we eat is crucial for our sleep, because a full stomach does not like to sleep. The last large meal of the day should therefore take place no later than three hours before going to bed and should not be too heavy. Rich meals stimulate the digestion too much and then not only make it difficult to fall asleep relaxed, but also to sleep peacefully through the night! Equally important is an overall vitamin-rich and balanced diet that provides the body with important nutrients and thus supports the physiological processes and recovery during sleep.

      Foods that promote sleep

      #1 melatonin suppliers: grapes, red wine

      The hormone melatonin controls our body's day-night rhythm and thus ensures regular sleep. Grapes have proven to be a natural way to provide the body with the missing melatonin when it comes to sleeping problems. Eating around 300 grams of grapes in the evening can already have a positive effect on sleep at night – just like a glass of red wine. But be careful: alcohol is not a solution to insomnia, it can actually make it worse. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a relaxing glass of red wine (up to 200ml) in the evening.

      #2 Tryptophan sources: bananas, almonds

      Bananas and almonds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which stimulates the body to produce the hormones melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone, has a tension-relieving and mood-enhancing effect and thus supports the relaxation process before sleep. Almonds and bananas are therefore healthy home remedies for sleep disorders, which also provide the body with many other vitamins and minerals.

      #3 Rich in magnesium: pumpkin seeds, millet, wholemeal bread/noodles

      The mineral magnesium allows the organism to sleep better and helps relax the muscles - an important prerequisite for deep sleep. If you have too little magnesium in your body, you may have problems falling asleep and muscle cramps at night.Healthy sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, millet or wholemeal bread and wholemeal pasta

      Foods that disturb sleep

      #1 Caffeinated foods: coffee, cola, black tea

      Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and prevents us from resting. Food containing caffeine should therefore already be avoided in the last 3-4 hours before going to bed so that falling asleep and staying asleep are not disturbed.

      #2 Alcohol in large quantities

      Alcohol consumption in the evening makes many people tired. A glass of beer or red wine in the evening is perfectly acceptable. In large quantities, however, alcohol has a negative effect on sleep due to the breakdown products produced during digestion and can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

      #3 Highly acidic, fatty and sugary foods

      Highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits or pickles, stimulate digestion and stimulate circulation because the body has to regulate pH levels. Digesting greasy and high-sugar foods also puts a strain on the stomach and intestines and makes it difficult to fall asleep in the evening, which is why heavy and highly acidic meals should be avoided before going to bed.

      ... and what about the hot milk with honey?

      In fact, the calcium, magnesium and protein found in milk can help relax muscles and the nervous system before bed, and the amino acid tryptophan, which is used to make the sleep hormone melatonin, is also found in dairy products. You shouldn't overdo it with the honey, as it quickly affects the blood sugar level - and then disturbs sleep!

      For more expert tips on how to get better sleep, check out this article.

      Conclusion

      • Have a last, rather light meal at least three hours before going to bed
      • Grapes or a(!) glass of red wine provide the body with the hormone melatonin, which regulates the day-night rhythm and promotes falling asleep
      • Banana and almonds contain the amino acid tryptophan and support the formation of melatonin and serotonin in the body, which allows us to relax and fall asleep better
      • The mineral magnesium relaxes the muscles and allows the body to sleep better. Pumpkin seeds, millet or whole grain products, for example, have a high magnesium content.
      • Abstain from caffeine and alcohol before going to bed and avoid highly acidic foods as well as fat and sugar bombs

      Greetings and see you soon!

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