How your diet affects your sleep

diet affects sleep

Sleep affects every part of our lives, from our mood to our energy levels to what we want to eat. But, did you know that what we eat and when we eat it also affects how well we sleep at night?

Below are a few of the ways that your diet affects sleep.  We’ve also included some tips on how to improve your diet to sleep better and feel better.

Late night eating and sleep

When you eat late at night, you are more likely to have disrupted sleep.  One of the reasons for this is that you are more likely to need to use the restroom during the night.

Eating before bed is worse when you are eating spicy or acidic foods that you are not used to eating.  Eating these foods and then laying down is likely to lead to indigestion and heartburn that can cause discomfort and prevent you getting to sleep.

If you find yourself needing a snack in the evening, try something that combines dairy and carbohydrates, like a bowl of cereal. The combination of foods helps your body absorb more tryptophan, making you sleepier. It also helps you to create serotonin, which is vital for a happier and healthier you!  But, remember to keep the snack portion small.

Try to have your dinner 3 to 4 hours before plan to go to bed in order to avoid any intestinal discomfort you might experience.

Check out the images below for the best and worst foods to eat before bed.

Best foods for sleep
Worst foods for sleep

Sugar and caffeine lead to energy struggles

If you find yourself experiencing energy highs and lows during the day, you might want to look at the amount of sugar that you are ingesting.  Sugar ‘highs’ often lead to a ‘low’ about two hours later. Instead of a sugary snack, try eating something that is much higher in protein, to give you an energy boost without the drop later.

Caffeine also has a similar roller coaster effect on the body, resulting in slumps that can make you feel tired and irritable.  Caffeine also stays in your system for up to 8 hours after you ingest it.  This means that, even your morning coffee could be keeping you up at night.  Most sleep experts suggest avoiding caffeine from mid afternoon, but if you are sensitive to caffeine you may need to cut it out altogether.

If you find yourself regularly struggling to get through the day, try talking to your doctor to see if there a medical reason for your fatigue.

High protein diets leads to better sleep

When it comes to choosing a diet, a high protein diet is a great option for helping you to get an undisturbed night’s rest.  A high protein diet will lead to you having better slow wave sleep and more REM sleep, making it easy for you to feel more energised the next day.

If you are worried about your diet and how it’s affecting your sleep, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to see where you can make improvements in your diet.

Please note:  This article is not to be used as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional before using any sleep treatments. This post may contain affiliate links.

Author profile
amy highland
Amy Highland
Sleep expert
Amy is a sleep expert at Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.
3 replies
  1. Caroyln says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed the reading. It seems, like everything, balance is the key. okay, off to exercise now.

  2. says:

    Staying hydrated throughout the day is great for your body, but cut it off before bed. You don’t want to have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom after you turn in.

    • TheDeepSleepCo says:

      Good advice. It’s a bit of a balancing act at night to stay hydrated and not keep waking up to go to the bathroom. Find what works for you and your body.


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