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Expert GuidanceHow to Eat for Better Sleep

How to Eat for Better Sleep

Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, a family physician and wellness expert, explains the connection between what you eat and how you sleep.

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Have you ever woken up from a terrible night's sleep and thought it must have been something I ate? Well, believe it or not, it actually might be. (gentle music) I'm Dr. Jaclyne Tolentino, a board-certified family physician and wellness expert. Many of my patients come to me with sleep issues and while they've often considered caffeine intake, bedtime habits like staying up too late, and stress, what people don't usually think about is the relationship between what they eat and how they sleep. The goal of a good night's sleep is to wake up feeling completely rested and refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. In order to do that, our bodies need the appropriate fuel to fully go into sleep mode, otherwise you won't sleep as deeply and your body won't be able to completely recharge. The food choices you make to fuel your rest are part of something that's called sleep hygiene: the practices and habits that help to ensure that we get enough of the high quality sleep that our bodies need to function properly. This includes making sure that we are preparing ourselves for restful sleep by creating a relaxing, soothing, and not too stimulating or stressful environment, and generally making sure that we get seven to eight hours of shuteye each night. So when it comes to eating for a good night's sleep, here are a few simple tips. Depending on what time you're aiming to be in bed, it's best to avoid eating too early or too late in the evening. Our bodies begin secreting melatonin, the sleep hormone, around the time that the sun sets, which makes the ideal bedtime a few hours after dark. Regardless of your bedtime, aim to eat your last meal of the day about three hours before you plan go to sleep to give your belly time to settle after a meal. Remember, digestion is an active process so it's not ideal to lay down immediately after eating. Eating dinner three hours ahead of time not only ensures that you won't get hungry again before bed, but also prevents a blood sugar drop in the middle of the night, which can wake you up. Next, it's all about what you eat. Your evening meal is a really good time to eat fiber-rich vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. But regardless of your eating style, the goal here is to support slow and gentle digestion while you sleep by eating foods which are easy to digest and substantial enough to keep you comfortably full, but not too full throughout the night. This ensures that your blood sugar levels are stable and your body isn't working so hard that it keeps you from falling asleep or staying asleep. Avoid foods that are too stimulating or hard to digest before bed. This means taking it easy on sugar and high fat foods. Foods high in sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leading to altered...


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration4 min

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