Sleep quality is significantly affected by digestion. Unfortunately, many people overlook the correlation between a well-functioning digestive system and a restful sleep.
Poor digestion can disrupt sleep patterns, make it harder to fall asleep, cause physical discomfort, produce anxiety, wake you in the middle of the night, and make you feel sluggish and tired during your waking hours.
It’s vital to your health that you work to nurture and maintain good sleeping habits. Research consistently shows that a lack of sleep is associated with poor work performance, memory loss, depression, a weakened immune system, weight gain, and increased mistakes during routine tasks.
Each choice we make before bedtime sets us up for a great sleep or a restless one. To get the best sleep possible, avoid the triggers that upset digestion:
A glass or two of wine before bed may help you nod off quickly, but you are more likely to wake-up tired and irritable.
Even moderate amounts of caffeine can affect sleep patterns. Best to avoid any caffeinated beverages up to four hours before bed including coffee, tea, and cola.
This includes garlic, onions, peppers, cayenne, paprika, curry, salsa and hot sauce. Studies have shown that a spicy meal before bedtime leads to less time in deep sleep. Deep sleep is critical for the body to repair tissues, build muscle and strengthen the immune system.
Digestion is a reactive system. Make sure you are choosing the best actions to set yourself up for a positive reaction.
Trigger foods will affect you during the day and night. During the day they can cause diarrhea, gas, bloating, belching as well as indigestion. When you eat trigger foods before laying down these foods combine with digestive juices and can press against the opening of the esophagus causing heartburn and acid reflux. Listen to your body and pay attention to your reactions to foods. Negative reactions set you up for constant discomfort, restless sleep and over time, a weakened immune system
The best foods you can eat close to bedtime are light foods that digest quickly:
All types of this fruit (fresh, dried, and tart) are a natural source of melatonin which regulates the body’s sleep.
These heart-healthy nuts are excellent bedtime snack that helps stabilize body sugar. Try a tablespoon of almond butter or 5-8 nuts before bed.
This fruit is full of potassium and magnesium. Both help to relax the muscles and can help lower your blood pressure to give you a peaceful night’s sleep.
Have you noticed that indigestion is affecting your sleep? Today is the perfect day for you to start a food/sleep diary. By tracking your food intake you can begin to see how different types of food are affecting your sleep. There are a few things you can watch out for:
- Which foods/drinks you ingested up to 6 hours before bed,
- The time you went to bed and the time you got up,
- How long it took to fall asleep,
- How many times you woke during the night,
- How many times you had to use the bathroom after laying down,
- How rested you felt in the morning, and
- If you had any indigestion during the night.
By becoming more aware of your body’s reaction to what you eat, you can pinpoint your trigger foods and strategically replace them. Be deliberate in your food choices and you will reap the benefits day and night.
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