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Nutrition and Sleep: Everything You Need To Know


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Writers at Sleep Authority are supported by a research team conducting in-depth research about the topics. The editorial team reviews them for accuracy and facts to ensure the most authentic and accurate content is published. Sleep Authority does not offer any medical advice, and you should not rely solely on our content for your course of treatment. Consult your medical professional to discuss any health concerns, chronic conditions, treatment options, or diagnoses.


January 6, 2023

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Nutrition And Sleep

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Today, it is no secret how nutrition and sleep play an essential role in your overall well-being. Proper nutrition is associated with good-quality sleep. At the same time, having the right sleep routine is required for maintaining healthy weight, especially for someone who is trying to lose some. In today’s article, we are here to tell you everything you must know about nutrition and sleep

What Is Nutrition?

To define it simply, nutrition focuses on food items that help you grow and stay healthy. These food substances when taken as a balanced meal provide your body with energy and promote proper functioning. Some of them include;

  • Macronutrients are a part of your balanced diet and consist of carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, fiber, and water. 
  • Vitamins are essential as they help with important body functions, and currently, there are 13 main vitamins. 
  • Minerals are required to boost different organs. 

Usually, having a balanced diet daily can give you the right amount of all the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need. Sometimes, supplements may also be taken if prescribed by a doctor. 

How Does Nutrition Affect Sleep

You must have come across the most famous saying, you are what you eat. Well, it is true because nutrition is the foundation of good health. As a general rule, a balanced meal is always recommended as it offers a bit of everything. Here, it is always essential to not overindulge in food as obesity is linked to poor sleep. In fact, one study found that when essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins A, C, D, and E are missing from your diet, it can lead to sleep problems.

Even a high-carb meal is linked with sleep. Consuming them at night can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and always cause several awakenings at night.

If you are trying to lose weight, chances are you may become influenced by fad diets. However, they are not good for you. But diets, such as the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial for you. 

Does an Unhealthy Diet Affect Sleep Disorders?

Some sleeping problems can be due to sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea. It is a severe sleep disorder where you frequently start and stop breathing throughout the night. Obesity is one of the major risk factors for sleep apnea. In some cases, treating obesity can cure the condition. Even certain drinks, such as alcohol can worsen the condition. So, nutrition and sleep apnea are interlinked. 

How Does Sleep Affect Nutrition?

Sleep is essential for healing and recovering. And when you feed your body with important nutrition and maintain healthy body weight, it can help you achieve a good sleep cycle. Experiencing poor sleep every night can put you at risk of obesity and a higher waist circumference. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to binge eat unhealthy food that is usually high in calories. Therefore, a good night’s rest is always vital.

How Sleep Affects Nutrition and Body Weight

Sleep and nutrition are interlinked because lack of sleep can affect our food choices, which can lead to obesity. At the same time, lack of sleep also adversely affects how the food we consume would be used by the body.

Sleep, Metabolism, and Appetite Hormones

Sleep is imperative for metabolism, a process by which the consumed food gets converted into energy. Sleep is able to create these chemical messengers required to carry out this process seamlessly. So, when you don’t get enough sleep, the food consumed is not utilized well and your body ends up craving more food. It is one of the reasons why weight gain happens due to lack of sleep. In fact, research shows that people who sleep for less than six hours can experience obesity.

People who sleep for extremely short bouts of time can suffer from metabolic syndrome. It is a group of tissues that cause abdominal obesity and put you at risk of cardiovascular disease.

When you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, it can lead to weight gain

Foods That Can Impact Sleep

When it comes to nutrition and sleeping better, there are small steps you can take to change any adverse effects you may be experiencing because eating and sleep are correlated. Here is a list of foods that has a negative effect on sleep. 


Too much sugar is not good for you as it can lead to obesity and diabetes. So, can diet affect sleep? Yes, when you indulge in too much sugar, it can lead to insomnia. This is how does diet affect sleep.

Caffeinated Beverages and Chocolate

A cup of hot chocolate or chai latte sounds wonderful during winters before you hit snooze. But caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake.


Does diet affect sleep? It can. This is one of the reasons why it is always great to avoid meat at night as the fat present in it becomes harder to break down, disrupting your sleep. It can also lead to indigestion. 


A glass of wine or a beer sounds good after a long day. But that’s not what your sleep needs. While alcohol makes you drowsy and can make you sleep fast, you may wake up multiple times at night, as it affects your REM sleep stage. 


Consuming too much water or liquids before sleeping can disrupt your sleep waking you up for frequent bathroom breaks. 

Spicy Foods

Spicy food is one of the foods that disrupt sleep and can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. Consuming spicy food at night can also lead to indigestion.

Fatty Foods

Fatty food needs time to digest and going to bed immediately after consuming fatty food can make you feel full and make it hard for you to fall asleep easily. High saturated fats can also have a disruptive effect on your sleep. Therefore, eating something light and healthy can be best for you. 

Foods That Help You Sleep

The relationship between nutrition and sleep is wonderful and what you eat can affect your sleep. So, take a look at foods that help you sleep effortlessly. 

Fruits and vegetables

When it comes to diet and sleep, fruits and vegetables are good for you. Consuming more fruits and vegetables can enhance your sleep quality and duration. Infact, less consumption of fruits and veggies can lead to poor sleep. 


Kiwi is an excellent low-calorie snack before bed. It is also known to aid sleep due to its serotonin levels. So, when it comes to nutrition and sleep for athletes, kiwi can be a great addition as it is only 42 calories a fruit. 

Warm Milk  

Does warm milk help you sleep? The answer is yes. This is because milk contains a variety of amino acids that positively affect sleep. Also, a glass of warm milk can be can help you unwind after a long day. 


Pineapple is an excellent source of melatonin. Infact, studies show that pineapple can elevate melatonin levels of the body, essential for a good night’s sleep. So, if you are looking for a midnight snack, a slice of pineapple can be perfect for you. 


Grapes are great. They are not only tasty and delicious but also high in melatonin. So, if you have eaten a small meal, it is great to end it with some grapes for a guaranteed good night’s rest. 

Chamomile Tea 

The best sleep aid has to be chamomile tea. It will not only make you fall asleep faster but also ensure you enjoy uninterrupted sleep. 

How To Improve Sleep and Nutrition

If you are looking to improve sleeping and eating and you don’t know where to start then consulting your doctor is always the best option. As you have already seen how insomnia and nutrition are connected. 

Most people are able to improve their sleep cycle by embracing healthy sleep hygiene. Maintaining consistency in sleep schedule helps you stay healthy, do away with obesity, avoid late night snacking and a lot more. Instead, go to bed before bedtime and take some time to relax to fall asleep easily. 


Nutrition and sleep go hand-in-hand. If you are having problems with sleep, try to embrace healthy eating habits. However, if nothing works, make sure you visit a nutritionist and sleep dietitian. Sleep and eating habits have to be healthy for your overall well-being. 


Proper nutrition must be maintained for your overall well-being. But apart from that, what you eat at night affects your sleep. For instance, eating fatty foods can take longer to digest and disrupt your sleep. 

Take a look at the above-mentioned food that can help you sleep. 

Yes, poor nutrition can directly or indirectly cause insomnia or sleep issues.

Micronutrients, minerals, and vitamin deficiencies can affect sleep. This includes iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin K and B12. 

Spicy food, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, calorie-dense meals, and fatty foods make it difficult for you to fall asleep.

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