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INTERCONNECTION OF SLEEP AND NUTRITION

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Lack of deep sleep can have a major negative impact on your health. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel sluggish and moody the next day. Some side effects of missing out on sleep include fatigue, an inability to focus, and overeating. Some studies have shown that lack of sleep can actually contribute to obesity since it increases your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you feel hungry during the day. If you get enough hours of sleep each night, you’ll be more focused and alert.

The Circadian Cycle

“You are what you eat” may be a buzzword, but it identifies the fact that nutrition is a backbone for health, providing the energy we need and other inputs that make the body function properly. The links between nutrition and obesity, diabetes, and heart health are well-known, but many people are unaware that their diet can also affect sleep.

As a general rule, a balanced diet is generally considered of a variety of vegetables and fruits which is able to provide the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients, contributing to better sleep while promoting a healthy weight.

Because both sleep and nutrition are extremely complex and involve multiple interconnected systems of the body, it is challenging to conduct research studies that conclusively demonstrate a single diet that is best for sleep. Instead, what appears most important is that a person gets adequate nutrition without overconsuming unhealthy foods.

Growing evidence indicates that sufficient nutrient consumption is important for sleep. One large study found a lack of key nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K to be associated with sleep problems. While this research does not prove cause-and-effect, it supports the likelihood that diet affects hormonal pathways involved in sleep.

High Carbs Alert!

High-carbohydrate meals with high glycemic indexes can also affect one’s energy level and sleep quality. It has been well established that high-carbohydrate meals often can make you feel drowsy. High-carbohydrate meals can also impair your sleep quality. In fact, high carbohydrate intake has been shown to increase the number of awakenings at night and reduce the amount of deep sleep you get. It is not a surprise that frequent consumption of energy drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with poor sleep quality.

What to do for a better sleep?

For improving your sleep, add some of the foods in your routine and see the magic yourself!

Our ancestors got something…

A warm glass of milk before bed can help you sleep better. Besides the soothing sipping, milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid linked to better sleep.

Gotta grab your tryptophan!

There may be a link between tryptophan and serotonin, a chemical messenger that helps produce healthy sleeping patterns as well as boost your mood.

You can also get some tryptophan from bananas — which are rich in potassium, too. This is an important element to human health and a natural muscle relaxant as well. According to one study, potassium levels also play a role in sleep, with more benefiting slumber time.

Sleeping Beauty

Melatonin (a hormone produced in your body) is partially responsible for regulating a person’s circadian rhythm, or their sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin may also be effective in relieving sleeping problems.

Foods with naturally occurring melatonin include:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Grapes
  • Pistachios
  • Tomatoes
Magical Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, , contain  600 mg of tryptophan per 100g as well as good amount of zinc, both of which helps the brain turn tryptophan into serotonin which is the precursor to melatonin.

Pumpkin seeds are also rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, protein, and iron. To get the biggest zinc benefits, eat the whole roasted seeds including the kernel and shell. The recommended serving size is about 1/4 cup.

Follow these, and you are good to go!

Here are some tips that you can follow to have a cozy good night sleep people!

  • Increase bright light exposure during the day
  • Blue light tricks your body into thinking its daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening.
  • Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Reduce irregular or long daytime naps
  • Try to sleep and wake at consistent times
  • Optimize your bedroom environment
  • Don’t eat late in the evening
  • Relax and clear your mind in the evening.
  • Reduce fluid intake in the late evening and try to use the bathroom right before bed.
  • Keep your mind and body busy in healthy activities you like.

 

Not having a found sleep is a major concern we all have been going through nowadays. Whether be it our busy schedules or too much worries in our life. Ultimately we are the ones who are going to take care of ourselves. So, let’s take small steps towards a better life.

Dn.Somia Arshad is a student of Diet and Nutrition from University of Lahore. She can be reached at @somia_arshad016.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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