Our sleep and daily diet are integral parts of our everyday life and important building blocks for our health, performance and well-being. You can find out here how daily nutrition influences our sleep and why an adequate supply of nutrients can help to significantly improve sleep and falling asleep.
Table of contents
- Diet & Sleep
- This is how sleep influences nutrition
- This is how nutrition affects sleep
- Nutritional tips for good sleep
1. Nutrition and sleep
We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and for good reason. Numerous regeneration processes take place during sleep, the hormonal 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 also very important for health and performance in everyday life, because our body depends on enough energy and a good supply of nutrients both during the day and during sleep. At night, when we regenerate, the body works at full speed to refill the important energy stores and provide new energy for the coming day.
Our sleep and daily diet therefore fundamentally interact in a healthy way. A healthy diet and a balanced supply of nutrients have a decisive influence on our sleep and falling asleep behavior, while the duration and quality of sleep at night can affect our eating behavior.
2. This is how sleep influences nutrition
Even during the night and especially during the deep sleep phases, the body needs many nutrients 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 unbalance the hormonal balance.
Our feelings of hunger and satiety are 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 an appetite while we sleep. Various studies show that lack of sleep impairs this hormonal cycle and promotes a pronounced feeling of hunger during the day, so that people eat more and more often on average during the day if they did not get enough sleep the night before. Persistent 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 an important factor for healthy eating habits during the day and should not be forgotten even if you want to lose weight.
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 body. Daily nutrition influences numerous processes in our body and, among other things, affects metabolism, our hormonal balance and supports normal body function, which, for example, regulates the sleep-wake rhythm and enables us to fall asleep quickly and have a restful night. With sensible eating habits and the avoidance or intake of certain nutrients, falling asleep and sleeping can be specifically improved.
Eating behavior & sleep
Consuming foods that are difficult to digest, especially shortly before bedtime, can have a negative impact on sleep because the digestive organs work intensively and keep the body busy. It is therefore advisable not to eat your last meal too late so that the digestion process is completed before going to bed and your 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. In general, foods rich in carbohydrates can help you fall asleep more quickly, while a diet rich in protein 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 impact on 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 impact on sleep due to the breakdown products produced during digestion and can lead to problems falling asleep 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 rhythm, and its precursor L-tryptophan, as well as the mineral magnesium. You can find out which foods and nutrients your diet can use to help you fall asleep in this article.
4. Nutrition tips for good sleep
➥ Avoid nerve-stimulating stimulants containing caffeine, large amounts of alcohol or nicotine in the last few 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 disrupt sleep. Avoid high-fat or sugary foods in the evening and have a final meal that is as light as possible up to 3 hours before going to bed.
➥ 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 actually have an important interaction. While sufficient and restful sleep helps us to pursue healthy eating habits, the way we eat and get nutrients makes a decisive contribution to the quality of 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 behavior, you should also support the other area so that nothing stands in the way of a healthy and efficient everyday life!
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