Eating & Sleep: How to Promote Healthy Sleep and Nutrition
What You’ll Learn: In this blog, we will discuss how eating and sleep are related and what nutrients help promote restful sleep and why a healthy diet is helpful for overall health and wellness.‡
The Midnight Dilemma: To Eat or Not to Eat
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, crawled out of bed and stared into the abyss of the open refrigerator contemplating the timeless dilemma of whether or not to start snacking? All the while squinting uncomfortably in front of the refrigerator light in the wee small hours of the morning. Ever wish you’d just stay asleep? What if I told you that eating and sleep are connected and healthy eating habits during the daytime may help promote restful sleep during the night…and vice versa: restful sleep may help promote healthy eating habits during the day. Let’s dive into what steps we can take to eat a healthy and balanced diet and explore the why behind this concept may help you avoid your next 3:00 am munching trip to the refrigerator.‡
Welcome to the Paradox:
You may be wondering what to fix first, the sleep habits or the eating habits. The research all seems to agree that sleep and eating habits are interconnected but figuring out which one has the greater impact on the other has resulted in a sort of “chicken vs. egg” scenario with discussion of research findings still ongoing.
There’s research to support that poor or insufficient sleep may alter hormones in the body that regulate hunger and satiety (the hormones responsible for helping manage your appetite).1 There’s even research that indicates poor sleep is linked to a potential greater risk for higher waist circumference and health-related concerns related to glucose metabolism.2,3
Conversely, there’s also research that suggests appropriate nutrient consumption is important for healthy sleep and quality of sleep. An analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Survey found that U.S. adults who slept fewer than 7 hours per night had lower intakes of vitamins A, C, D, E and K.4 Diet has also been shown to possibly affect the hormonal pathways involved in a healthy sleep cycle.5‡
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done to improve our eating and sleep habits. There are nutrients we can include in our daily routine and our diets to help ensure we are promoting not only healthy eating patterns, but also supporting our ability to attain and achieve restful and quality sleep.‡ Let’s start off with some of the lifestyle changes we can make to our diets.
Food First: How Diet Affects Sleep
As we begin to discuss eating and sleep and the relationship they share, I want to first discuss the importance of nutrition and how a healthy diet may help lead to better overall sleep health.‡
- Mediterranean Diet:
- According to the American Heart Association, the Mediterranean Diet is a term used to describe the traditional eating habits of those populating the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.6 This type of diet has long been touted for its heart health benefits. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein coming from dairy, fish and poultry, fat sources from olive oil and its inclusion of nuts, grains and seeds.6
- Plus, research has found that those who practiced a lifestyle change that included Mediterranean dietary habits as opposed to focusing on the addition of a singular nutrient in their diet were associated with a more beneficial effect on sleep quality.7
- Want to read more about specific nutrients to help support healthy overall diet and wellness? Check out our Eating for the Health of It blog here!
- DASH Diet:
- Another diet that has been found to be helpful to promoting overall quality of sleep is the DASH diet. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute describes the DASH diet as a dietary lifestyle that includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, protein from fish, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds. Fats are included from vegetable oils and encourages the limiting of foods that are high in saturated fats and sugary drinks and sweets.8
- The DASH diet may appear similar to the Mediterranean diet. However, the DASH diet has more of a focus on limiting additional salt and also promotes more fibrous food intake and foods that support the minerals potassium and magnesium. While both diets offer a flexible eating pattern to help promote overall health, studies have indicated that those who adhered to the DASH diet have reported an improvement in their quality of sleep.8,9
Let’s be honest, we may all benefit from an improvement in our eating and sleep patterns. Small changes in diet help you implement lifestyle changes that may lead you to noticeable benefits once these healthier eating and sleeping habits become routine.
Still struggling with that midnight appetite? Our new weight management† product, PureLean® Satiety, offers clinically-researched DNF-10® to moderate caloric intake and promote satiety. It also contains Sensoril® ashwagandha, a clinically-studied aqueous extract of leaf and root to promote relaxation and emotional well-being.‡
The Flip side of the Pillow:
We all know how good it feels to have a nice, restful evening full of quality sleep. But, did you know that sleep is helpful to the body in more ways than just helping you feel refreshed? ‡ As we mentioned a littler earlier on, research suggests that insufficient sleep has been associated with a risk of greater waist circumference.2 Now, let’s talk about why this matters:
In fact, sleep may also have some influence on weight, body composition and its effect on appetite.‡ This includes the risk of those increasing their food intake and often choosing higher caloric foods with lack of adequate sleep.10,11
Why might this occur? Well, this is because normal production of the hormones that help manage appetite and hunger (leptin and ghrelin), may be affected by occasional sleeplessness.1 Now, let me tell you, there is a nightlight at the end of the tunnel…our Best-Rest Formula.
- Our Best Rest Formula provides support for occasional sleeplessness. It contains the time-tested support of valerian, passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm and hops, which act to calm and relax the central nervous system.‡
- Double-blind trials involving valerian, valerian/lemon balm combinations and valerian/hops combinations have indicated the potential to support the onset of sleep as well as healthy sleep quality.12,13,14‡
- Melatonin also facilitates the onset of sleep and sleep efficiency.15‡
- GABA and l-theanine are included for their ability to promote alpha wave production in the brain, an indication of relaxation.16,17, ‡
Not to mention, our Best-Rest Formula also comes in a great-tasting and convenient gummy to help satisfy every level of tolerance.
Eating and Sleeping:
Looking for an option to specifically help promote appetite and your sleep/wake cycles? 5-HTP may just make its way into your bedtime routine.‡
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an intermediate in the natural synthesis of serotonin. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan, an amino acid. In the body, 5-HTP can be converted directly to serotonin.18
- Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of endocrine and brain activity responsible for emotion, appetite and sleep/wake cycles.19,20‡
- In clinical studies, administration of 5-HTP supported serotonin production.21‡
Here at Pure Encapsulations® we offer a wide array of sleep products aimed at helping you support your overall sleep quality and improve your restful sleep. If you’re not quite ready for sleep, that’s okay too! Our Pure Tranquility Liquid, is a helpful way to help stir up that calm and relaxation.‡
Settling Down For the Night:
We talked about how inadequate sleep and poor dietary habits may affect you physiologically and the nutrients to help support adequate sleep. Now, it’s time to turn down the lights and settle in for the night. Together, let’s work to support your health journey by starting with a restful night’s sleep.‡
- Spiegel, K., et al. Brief communication:. Annals of internal medicine, 141(11), 846–850
- Sperry, S. D., et al. Sleep Duration and Waist Circumference in Adults: A Meta-Analysis. Sleep, 38(8), 1269–1276.
- Wu, Y., et al.. Sleep medicine, 15(12), 1456–1462.
- Ikonte, C. J. et al. Micronutrient Inadequacy in Short Sleep: Analysis of the NHANES 2005-2016. Nutrients, 11(10), 2335.
- Frank, S., et al. Diet and Sleep Physiology: Public Health and Clinical Implications. Frontiers in neurology, 8, 393.
- American Heart Association. (2018). Mediterranean Diet. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/mediterranean-diet.
- Muscogiuri, G., et al. Nutrients, 12(5), 1364.
- (2021, January 4). DASH Eating Plan | NHLBI, NIH. Nih.gov. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan
- Liang, H. et al.. Nutrients, 12(5), 1510.
- Grandner, M. et al. Sleep symptoms associated with intake of specific dietary nutrients. Journal of Sleep Research, 23(1), 22–34.
- Greer, S. et al. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nature communications, 4, 2259.
- Kennedy DO, et. al. Phytother Res. 2006 Feb;20(2):96-102.
- Ngan A, et. al. Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1153-9.
- Zick SM, et. al. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Sep 22;11:78.
- Eckerberg B, et. al. Chronobiol Int. 2012 Nov;29(9):1239-48.
- Yoto A, et. al. Amino Acids. 2012 Sep;43(3):1331-7.
- Kimura K, et. al. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39- 45.
- Turner EH, et al. Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Mar;109(3):325-38.
- Bruni O, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2004 Jul;163(7):402- 7.
- Rondanelli M, et al. Eat Weight Disord. 2012 Mar;17(1):e22-8.
- Croonenberghs J, et al. Life Sci. 2005 Mar 25;76(19):2171-83