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sleep school: WHAT YOU EAT MIGHT BE WHY YOU CANT SLEEP

Zoe Bingely-Pullin

GOOD SLEEP IS OFTEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED, UP UNTIL YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED A BAD NIGHTS SLEEP OR PERIOD OF INSOMNIA! At this point, it’s not uncommon to analyse our lives to try to work out what could be causing poor sleep. However, most of us skip over diet due to a lack of understanding around the connection between diet and sleep. If this sounds all too familiar and you are trying to get back into a good sleep routine, here are some foods and dietary inadequacies, which may be the reason you cannot sleep…


Too much spice at dinnertime
Spicy food is a commonly cited trigger of reflux and if you are prone to reflux at night, it may pay to avoid too much spice before bedtime. The same goes for eating a large meal close to bed, ideally leave a 2-3 hour gap between when the kitchen closes and when you hit the pillow.

Inadequate calcium
If you avoid dairy and don’t pay attention to eating enough non-dairy calcium alternatives, this may be affecting your sleep. Specifically, calcium is pretty important when it comes to a good nights sleep because it works alongside 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. Some non-dairy sources of calcium to boost your diet with include soymilk, almonds, tahini, canned salmon, leafy greens and dried figs.

Too much caffeine
Coffee, matcha latte, dark chocolate, raw chocolate treats and green tea – what do these food and drinks all have in common? Caffeine! A caffeine overload during the day can in fact result in poor sleep at night. If you are prone to overdoing it on the caffeine front, maybe its time to reassess and opt for some low caffeine options especially later in the day such as chamomile tea, ginger tea or rooibos.

Low carbohydrate diet
Low carbohydrate diets are suitable short term for some people but not everyone will reap the same benefits. If you suffer anxiety or are highly stressed, a low carb diet can place added stress on your nervous system and impact not only energy but also how you sleep. In addition, 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.

Skipping Protein
Many of us do not get enough protein spread evenly throughout the day and instead leave it to dinnertime. However, eating around 20-30g protein at breakfast can help to stabilise appetite during the day and prevent excessive hunger and snacking at night time. This is important when it comes to sleep because filling up on sugar or refined carbs snacks may negatively impact blood sugar during the night, not to mention make you uncomfortably full when going to bed and in turn disrupt sleep. Aim to spread your protein intake out evenly during the day to get the most benefit.

– Zoe x

Stay tuned for more of Zoe’s posts + for further information on how you can make healthy eating your lifestyle and not a fad purchase Zoe’s ‘Falling In Love With Food‘ online program and start today!

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{Pics: Oracle Fox}

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