Sleep Diet

Have you ever heard of a sleep diet? I know you you have heard about the Atkins Diet, a low carb diet, an anti-inflammatory diet and a raw food diet. Did you know that what you eat really does make a difference in how you sleep?

Let me give you examples of foods and drinks that foster sleep and those that interfere with sleep quality.

Sugar and Sleep

A friend of mine whose mother was in her 80's was really struggling with insomnia. She had been to the doctor many times and had tried several sleep prescriptions with very little relief and with some troubling side effects.

insomnia diet

I started asking her about her diet and what she ate, especially in the evening. When I found out her nightly habit was to watch TV and eat a large bag of sugar candy, I gently suggested that all that sugar could be one of her problems.

Unfortunately she did not want to give up the candy and she is still having trouble with her sleep today.

Sugar and processed foods overstimulate the body and can prevent us from falling asleep.

A diet rich in fresh, unprocessed foods is not only good for a healthy body, but also good for our sleep.

Fats and Sleep

You may be surprised to find out that a diet that includes healthy fats can contribute to a better night's sleep. Dr. Sandra Cabot, the author of Tired of Not Sleeping: Dr. Sandra Cabot's Wholistic Program for a Good Night's Sleepwrites, "I have found that the most common nutritional deficiencies in those with ...insomnia are fats, omega 3 fatty acids and phospholipids, vitamin C, and the minerals magnesium and selenium."
sleep diet tips

Some good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, tuna, green leafy vegetables, omega 3 eggs, and high quality fish oil supplements. 

Low Glycemic NOT Low Carb Diet and Sleep

I had been having a good run with sleeping well when something shifted and I was back to having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  When I thought about what had I changed recently -  it was my diet.  A low carb, keto diet had me eating lots of fats, some protein and very little carbs.  

When I did a little research I found there are lots of people who experience sleep problems on a low carb or kepo diet. To get me back on track I bought the Adrenal Reset Diet book and went off of all caffeine.  Low sugar levels spike a cortisol response and can make a person more, shall I say - hyper. So along with removing my morning coffee I bought the book the Adrenal Reset Diet to see if I could restore healthy sleep patterns. 

low glycemic NOT low carb diet and sleep

It wasn't instant, but I changed my diet to include a small amount of low glycemic carbs in the morning, a moderate amount at lunch and a larger amount at supper as recommended in the book.  Along with getting outside early in the morning, being more disciplined with exercise, giving up my coffee, my ability to fall and stay asleep greatly improved.

The Adrenal Reset Diet: Strategically Cycle Carbs and Proteins to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, and Move from Stressed to Thriving

Caffeine and Chocolate

Wouldn't you know my favorite dessert is chocolate. But it is not my friend when evening comes.

chocolate a cause for insomnia

I have learned that if I want to enjoy a bite of a chocolate bar - and I love the intense dark chocolate - to have it by early afternoon.

Even a cup of hot cocoa in the evening has kept me awake.

And to think I used to be able to drink regular caffeinated coffee with any dessert in the evening and go to sleep an hour later.

Enjoy your chocolate - just not in the evening.

Low Oxolate Diet

Could your spinach smoothies and salads be contributing to your sleep problems?  One of the highest oxalate containing foods, spinach not only contributes to your oxalate accumulation it also steals important minerals like calcium and magnesium.

"Unrestful sleep, neuropathic pain, poor concentration, mental and emotional fatigue, mood problems, other brain function issues? Oxalates can affect your brain, so neurological problems may be a sign of oxalate trouble."

Sally K. Norton

Eat Your (Low Oxalate) Greens

Tea for Sleep

I have given up all coffee (regular and decaf) and caffeinated teas - morning, afternoon and evening. As we age we become more sensitive to caffeine side effects. For me, regular coffee makes me more hyper and jittery. As someone who seems to always be in overdrive, I like teas or drinks that help to calm and relax me.

tea for sleep

I love the taste of Yogi Bedtime Tea. This sleep aid tea contains natural ingredients like valerian root, Passion flower extract, organic Chamomile flower, and organic lavender flower. It tastes great thanks to ingredients like organic spearmint leaf, organic cinnamon bark and stevia leaf.

I drink it during the day instead of coffee or other teas and at bedtime. To get the most benefit from this tea for sleep, steep it for 5-10 minutes. If you want a stronger tea, use two tea bags. Incorporate herbal caffeine free teas as part of your sleep diet.

Talk to your doctor before taking this tea if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs.

Yogi Tea - Bedtime - Soothing and Spicy Sweet - 6 Pack, 96 Tea Bags Total

Sleep Promoting Minerals

Pumkin seeds contain many health benefits some of which can contribute to better sleep.

"The zinc in these seeds can also help convert tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.

In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium levelshave also been associated with better sleep."

Food Sensitivities and Sleep

Did you know that food sensitivities can disrupt your sleep?  Unlike food allergies that cause immediate reactions, food sensitivities cause delayed reactions from constipation, to skin rashes to sleep disturbances.

diet and sleep

This test helps to "identify which foods a patient was reacting to, not immediately after they ate the food, but days or even weeks later. When we guided that patient to avoid those foods, she started to feel better. Skin rashes went away, and so did headaches, joint pains, extra weight, anxiety, and autoimmunity."

What Is a Food Sensitivity Test – and Why Do One?

Depending on what test you take you can identify over 100 common foods that you may be reacting to.  The test will then give you info on how reactive you are to a food, like eggs, from mild to severe.

Complete Food Sensitivity Test

Time Your Supplements

For those who take vitamins and supplements, pay attention to when you take them.

For some sensitive sleep souls, like me, if taken too late in the afternoon or evening, your sleep may be affected.

The exceptions are calcium and magnesium as these minerals help to promote sleep. I always drink a glass of warm water with two teaspoons of Calm before going to bed as part of my "sleep diet."

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