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The Connection Between Sleep and Diet Habits

By Stepy Kamei

Living a truly healthy lifestyle is all about making smart choices which impact multiple aspects of our lives. One habit we indulge in can very easily and likely impact other areas of our lives as well. This is one of the most important reasons why experts recommend looking at your health and wellness from a holistic approach. For instance, a healthy dietary plan can impact the quality of your sleep, while your sleep hygiene can also improve your eating habits as well. Keep on reading to learn more about the important, if not surprising, connection between how well you sleep, and how well you eat.

What's the Connection Between Sleep and Diet?

A recent study performed by the American Heart Association found a close link between what a person eats and how well they sleep -- and vice versa.

Essentially, if you're consuming foods which are high in sugar, fat, and salt, you're less likely to be sleeping well at night. A high intake of food, especially unhealthy junk food, can interrupt your sleep habits. This is especially true if you consume high amounts of sugar or caffeine close to bedtime. Furthermore, heavy fatty foods can disrupt your circadian rhythms by forcing your body to focus more on digesting as opposed to resting.

Conversely, if you're not sleeping well at night (having trouble falling asleep, or tossing and turning throughout the night), you may find it harder to stay away from sugary, salty, and fatty foods. That's because a body and brain that are deprived of sleep tend to crave foods which are salty, fatty, and sugary, because they provide a quick rush of caffeine or feelings of pleasure in the brain.

How to Take Control

It comes down to making smart choices in all aspects of your daily (and nightly) routine, so a positive cycle can be built. Make sleep and a proper diet essential aspects of your day. If you have trouble falling asleep, try using a white noise machine, drinking herbal tea, or using an eye mask to block out light. Find little ways to induce good sleep every night and integrate them into a regular nighttime routine.

As for your diet, focus on choosing foods that are minimally processed. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grain breads and pastas. Build a catalog of meals you can rely on which include steamed vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats to keep your energized throughout the day.

Be sure to consult with your primary healthcare provider for any further advice on how you can improve your diet as well as your sleeping habits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Monroe, La.

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