The Food and Sleep Connection

Is It Bad To Eat Before You Sleep? It Depends.

A turkey sandwich contains tryptophan, which makes it a good choice to induce sleepiness before bed. But, the protein in the turkey might actually keep you awake, as will the empty carbs in white bread, fats in the mayonnaise and spices in the mustard.
Eat a bowl of cereal with some sliced banana, though, and sweet slumber is yours.

Food & Sleep – It’s A Complex Relationship

“There’s a complex relationship between eating and sleeping,” said Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and certified clinical sleep educator. “Sleep affects how we eat and what we eat affects how we sleep.”

The Science Behind Food & Sleep

Spicy Foods Can Disrupt Sleep

There are several studies that lend credence to what Cralle is saying. A study out of Australia confirms what tummy-sensitive folks have long known – spicy food disrupts sleep. But it goes beyond heartburn. Men who poured Tabasco sauce and mustard on their dinner experienced less deep sleep than those eating bland food. This can lead to shorter sleep duration and poor sleep quality, which in turn impacts health in a myriad of ways.

4 Hours of Sleep Can Lead To A High Carb, Sugary Diet

A study by the University of Chicago found that people who sleep only 4 hours a night are more likely to choose high carb, sugary and starchy foods over healthier foods. Furthermore, according to the study, those who slept the fewest hours per night weighed the most.
“Lack of sleep has been shown to increase caloric consumption,” Cralle said. “A few extra hours of sleep may reduce cravings for sugary foods and snacks, and decrease hunger.”

Lack of Sleep Causes Hormonal Changes In Your Body

A lack of sleep causes hormonal changes in the body. Ghrelin, a hormone that causes increased appetite by telling you to eat more, increases. Leptin, a hormone that causes you to feel full and tells you to stop eating, decreases. Additionally, an Indian study found that insomniacs have lower levels of folic acid and vitamin B12, indicating there may be an association between nutrition deficiency and sleep status.
Most people would say getting a good night’s sleep is of utmost importance, along with enjoying favorite foods.

A Simple Solution? Reverse Your Eating Trends

“Rather than cut out these foods, move dinner time back a little bit from bedtime,” Cralle said. “Or, even better, reverse eating trends. Mattress Firm knows that we are used to eating a light breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a heavy meal at dinnertime. Turn that completely upside down. Start with a substantial breakfast that will sustain you through the day, eat a moderate lunch, and a light dinner.”
Cralle said to cut the caffeine by noon, and bedtime snacks should be an hour or so before lights out.

About The Author

The Daily Dozers The Daily Dozers are the mattress experts behind The Daily Doze, pooling their knowledge to bring you all that you need to know about what’s right under your head (literally). The Daily Dozers are team members who have been embedded in the mattress industry for years, whether that’s at one of our thousands of neighborhood stores, or in our hometown of Houston at BedQuarters. These product experts can answer any question you might have about your bed. From ‘what size mattress do I need for my room?’ to ‘how do I know if I need an adjustable base?’ – there’s no topic too tired for The Daily Dozers. Even better? The Daily Dozers work together with The Savvy Savers to make sure you’re getting the bed you want, at a price you can’t find anywhere else.

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