Understanding the Link Between Insomnia and Diet

Insomnia and diet are two things that are related but many people fail when it comes to understanding the link between the two. The fact that caffeine is the most commonly known cause of insomnia only goes to show that the foods and drinks you consume can have a direct effect on a sleeping disorder. Although sleeping disorders are often caused by other factors like depression or stress, it’s still a good idea to learn about the link between food and insomnia. This will help you avoid any sleeping disorders in the future or address the one that you already have.

Caffeine: An Infamous Cause of Insomnia

Caffeine is the most infamous culprit when it comes to foods or substances that cause insomnia. When you consume caffeine, the neurological movement in your brain is stimulated, and therefore boosts your energy. A lot of people drink coffee in the morning or during the day when they are feeling sluggish. Although there is nothing seriously wrong with having a cup or two during the daytime, consuming coffee or other caffeine-laden drinks close to bedtime can easily disrupt your sleep. Examples of beverages that contain large amounts of caffeine are soft drinks, tea and even some over-the-counter medications for colds.

Food Allergies

Eating foods that you are allergic to can also affect the quality of your sleep. Being allergic to a certain food doesn’t mean that you show extreme reactions like swelling or breaking out in a rash. Mild, almost unnoticeable reactions like an increased heart rate or restlessness are signs that your body is sensitive to a certain food – even if it’s considered healthy food. Different people are allergic to different foods, so you will need to keep track of what you eat in order to pinpoint possible allergens. One of the best things you can do is list the foods you eat daily as well as your physical reactions to each one. Do you feel tired and sleepy after eating a certain food? Are you feeling restless and irritable? After several days, you will probably see a pattern that can help you discover what foods you are allergic to.

Other Foods to Avoid

Aside from caffeine and food allergies, you might also want to avoid foods that are high in harmful substances. For instance, Chinese food sometimes contains a high amount of MSG to give it flavor. Sweets and other foods that are high in sugar can boost your blood sugar level and make it hard for you to sleep. Needless to say, you might also want to stay away from consuming alcohol and nicotine that can also cause disturbances in your sleep.

Foods that Promote Sleep

Just as there are foods that can worsen your insomnia, there are also foods that can help you cure it. Bananas make a great snack before bedtime because they are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your brain release serotonin, which in turn promotes sleep. A glass of warm milk, which is a widely-known sleeplessness cure, is also rich in tryptophan. Pecans and rice are also known for promoting better sleep.


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