leep is a precious commodity that many of us don't get enough of. It's easy to feel like you're running on fumes when you're constantly sleep-deprived, but it doesn't have to be this way. There are plenty of things you can do to fight insomnia and enjoy more restful nights with the best diet for insomnia!
Who Suffers From Insomnia?
Insomnia affects about 50% of the population, which means nearly everyone knows someone who is affected by this issue. It can affect people regardless of age, lifestyle, and career type. Insomnia has also been found to be equally prevalent in males and females.
Many people who suffer from insomnia often complain of difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and then having trouble getting back to sleep, or waking up too early in the morning.
A study from the National Sleep Foundation found that there are many factors related to insomnia.
Insomnia is most common in those over 60 and has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher and people with medical conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, menopause, and pregnancy.
In the US alone, approximately 50 million individuals suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that as many as about 40% of those who had insomnia symptoms also experienced daytime dysfunction, including problems with attention span and memory issues.
Insomnia can cause significant distress to people and their families because it affects how much and how well they sleep and because it can lead to diminished cognitive function.
Insomnia is a serious medical condition that impacts the quality of life for sufferers in many different ways.
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that prevents people from getting the appropriate amount of rest they need. There are several causes of insomnia:
The most common cause of insomnia is stress. Many things in life can contribute to a feeling of intense worry or anxiety, like work deadlines, relationship problems, or finances.
Difficulty Falling Asleep
Another cause for people with insomnia could be difficulty falling asleep due to other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome (RLS), periodic limb movement (PLM), or sleep apnea.
Some people are sensitive to light, noise, or other sensory stimuli that can interfere with their falling asleep, such as a snoring partner in the next room.
Depression can also lead to insomnia since the lack of sleep may complicate depressive feelings.
Using Stimulants Late In The Day
Stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks that are used throughout the day can interfere with sleeping at night. These beverages contain substances such as caffeine and sugar that stimulate brain activity and make it more difficult to sleep.
Certain medications can also cause insomnia, especially those with high levels of caffeine or stimulants like amphetamines.
Anxiety is also another cause of insomnia, as it can make people feel wide awake and restless when they should be preparing to sleep.
People who suffer from jet lag often have trouble sleeping because of the difference in time zones and changing light patterns. This is a temporary case, but it can definitely contribute to insomnia for some people.
Lack Of Exercise
Physical activity during the day helps regulate sleep-wake cycles to promote a restful night's sleep.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
Sugary foods or high-fat foods that are not nutritious can lead to weight gain and cause the body to release stress hormones that can negatively affect sleep.
What Foods Help You Sleep?
Certain types of food can help you sleep better.
Berries are known to have high levels of melatonin, which is a natural hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Eating berries at night can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Like eating berries before bedtime, cherries are known for their sedative properties and ensure quality deep sleep. Cherries contain the same natural hormone that is present in berries.
Drinking green or black tea before bed can also help you get a better night’s sleep by lowering the production of cortisol, which is known to have an alerting effect on your body and mind. It has been reported that people who drink decaffeinated green or black tea an hour before bed have improved sleep quality.
This mineral is the key player in helping relax your muscles and relieve stress, which are two factors that can contribute to insomnia. Magnesium is most effective when consumed as a supplement rather than from food sources because its bioavailability (ability to be absorbed by the body) is better.
Not only does coconut oil work well in cooking, but it can also help you sleep too! Studies have found that this food contains high levels of tryptophan and melatonin, both natural brain-boosting chemicals known for their relaxing properties. It can also be helpful for those who experience pain or discomfort and helps to improve sleep quality.
Eating oatmeal before bed can help you get a good night’s sleep because it contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that the body naturally converts into serotonin-a neurotransmitter that calms your nervous system and eases stress.
According to a study in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association, eating bananas before bedtime increases deep sleep and improves daytime alertness for people who have had trouble sleeping. Bananas are rich in tryptophan, potassium, magnesium, and B-vitamins which promote relaxation and help regulate sleep.
Non-dairy milk is rich in calcium and magnesium, which are two minerals that can help you sleep better.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are filled with tryptophan, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium-all of which can help you sleep better.
Drinking whole-grain cereal or eating high fiber foods like oatmeal before bedtime has been found to improve the quality of your sleep by aiding in digestion that typically slows down when you sleep.
Eating asparagus before bedtime can help your body produce the anti-inflammatory hormone prostaglandin and reduce pain, such as a sore back or joints that make it hard to fall asleep. It also contains high levels of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and helps regulate inflammatory responses in the body.
Herbs such as chamomile, lavender, and valerian root can also be used for their sedative properties. It is best to use these herbs in the form of tea or tincture before bedtime.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
There are some foods that you should avoid to sleep better.
A caffeine habit is a death sentence for sleep because it takes about six hours to leave the system.
Drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy, but if you drink too much, that feeling will wear off, and your body will start producing adrenaline. Alcohol also disrupts the serotonin receptor in your brain, which helps regulate mood and sleep cycles.
Spicy foods can keep your stomach churning and make it hard to fall asleep.
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream should be avoided because they contain high calcium levels, which is a stimulant that prevents you from falling into REM sleep mode.
It takes longer for the body to process fried foods, which can lead to heartburn or indigestion.
The sugar in carbohydrates can make you jittery and unable to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. The same is true for the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda because they also contain caffeine.
Nitrites in processed meat have been linked to poor sleep quality because they are the same compounds found in medications for anxiety.
Many processed foods contain food dyes, preservatives, and other additives that can cause problems with your gut bacteria, which regulates how you feel after eating. Processed meats also come into play here as well because nitrites have been linked to poor sleep.
What Is The Relationship Between Diet And Sleep?
There is a lot of research about the relationship between diet and sleep. Two key factors are weight and hormones, in particular leptin and ghrelin.
One study found that individuals who are obese (have a BMI over 30) have lower levels of leptin, which can lead to disturbances in sleep patterns. Obese people often experience an earlier onset of the nightly release, leading to daytime fatigue from lack of quality sleep. The normal circadian rhythms associated with appetite control may be disrupted, and as a result, the sleep-wake cycle may be off too.
Another study found that ghrelin levels spike before bedtime in people who are obese (those with BMI over 30). This could lead to insomnia because after eating at night, they would have higher appetite-suppressing hormones, making them feel hungrier and more uncomfortable with sleep.
These two factors are connected in which obesity raises ghrelin levels, and leptin is lower.
Do Sleeping Pills Help Insomnia?
The short answer is yes. Sleeping pills can help insomnia. The long answer is that it depends on the type of pill and who you are talking to. There are three types of sleep aids: sedatives, hypnotics (sleeping pills), and antidepressants. Sedatives work by slowing down your brain activity with a low dose; hypnotics work by creating a calming effect when you take them, and antidepressants work by easing depression symptoms. If they are prescribed too often, the sedatives can have withdrawal effects such as nausea or agitation in some people. Hypnotics should not be taken more than twelve weeks at a time because your body will get used to the medication, and it won't help anymore. If your insomnia is caused by depression, antidepressants are the best option for you because they work to get rid of depression with a low dose.
Risk Factor Of Insomnia
Insomnia is a problem that affects most people, regardless of age. It can happen at any time in life, but it is more common among those over the age of 60. Insomnia can cause a lot of stress and life problems.
It can cause people to be less productive at work or school, leading to a decrease in self-esteem. Insomnia is also related to other medical conditions like chronic pain, heart disease, depression, anxiety disorders, stroke risk factors, among others.
Tips To Fight Insomnia
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Eat healthy foods, avoid too much caffeine intake or alcohol.
- Choose a relaxing evening activity such as reading, meditating, playing video games before going to sleep. Avoid watching TV or working in front of the computer.
- Get plenty of exercises outside to get natural sunlight and fresh air.
- Limit sugar, caffeine, or alcohol intake before bedtime.
- Make sure the bedroom is dark and cool, with a comfortable mattress. Remove all electronics from the room if possible.
- If possible, use earplugs or white noise to block outside noises that might disrupt sleep
- Avoid taking naps during the day unless it's been at least eight hours since your last full night's rest
it is not easy to deal with insomnia, but with the right information and some good habits, it will be much easier. Remember that it is always better to consult a doctor before starting any new healthy diet or lifestyle.