Nutrition and sleep quality are two things that are often not linked together in common thought, but they have a stronger correlation that one might think. Ever feel that drowsy feeling after a large meal, or wired laying in bed kicking yourself for that post-dinner coffee? What we eat before bedtime can play an important part in how well you rest each night. Dietitians have long relied on the age old creed of “Do not eat after 9pm”. It is actually more of an impact when you are comparing when you are eating and when you are going to sleep, the proximity and content matters to your body.
As far as timing and size of a meal, eat less if you are going to sleep directly after dinner. Food is energy, and if you are not going to be using that energy while asleep, you do not need as much. If you have a large meal and fall asleep, the body stores this energy in fat deposits for later use. Larger meals also raise your core body temperature as your body works to digest the food you just consumed. This can disrupt sleep due to the body’s temperature lowering in the night for optimal sleep.
When it comes to the content of what is in the meal that plays a part as well. Sugar, caffeine and stimulants can keep your body awake and alert despite your urge to slumber. This can send the body into a strange distressful mix up for its sleep pattern. Spicy ingredients can also spell problems for a restful sleep as they can cause intestinal distress.
These are just a few tips for every person to keep in mind as they sit down for their last meal of the day. A much more comprehensive study was conducted and covered by this article in the Huffington Post covering the effects of nutrition during a person’s sleep duration, as well as what vitamins can benefit sleep efficiency.
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