Woman sleeping

Getting good quality sleep is about a lot more than how many hours of sleep you get each night. High quality sleep depends on everything from the exercise you get, the sunshine hours you get in the day, how much you look at screens all day, and perhaps most importantly, the food and drinks you take in every day. Eating healthy foods that are full of nutrients has a major impact on our brain’s health and activity and by extension, our sleep quality. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you decide what you eat every day.

1. Caffeine

You need to be aware of how much caffeine you’re getting and what time of the day, because caffeine intake makes our adrenaline go up and prevents our brains from telling our bodies it’s time to sleep. Although it affects everyone differently, caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for as many as six hours after consumption, so you should limit your caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

2. Alcohol

Although you might think a glass of wine or cocktail will make you drowsy, it actually lessens the quality of your sleep that night. Alcohol will knock you out quite hard immediately, so your body will be in a deep sleep stage earlier in the night than usual, and then your brain will keep you in a lighter sleep stage later in the night. This means that you wake up feeling less rested than if you hadn’t had those drinks before bed. This doesn’t mean you need to quit alcohol, but you should drink in moderation and not right before your bedtime.

3. Fatty or Spicy Foods

According to Laura Kettleman, a health writer at Paper Fellows and Australian Help, “foods that are heavy, spicy, or fatty are harder for your stomach to digest, and having indigestion before you go to bed will make it harder for you to sleep. If you’re feeling pecking before bed, stick to lighter foods like bananas or whole grains.”

4. Avoid Big Dinners

Eating a lot of food quickly, especially at night, will take your body more time to digest and will affect your sleep quality. If you’re already eating big dinners and you’re sleeping fine, you may not need to change your habit, but if your sleep isn’t excellent, you should keep the timing and size of your meals in mind. This also goes for people who have digestive problems like acid reflux.

5. Snacking

You don’t need to go to bed with an empty stomach, either, just because you’re avoiding a big meal. You don’t want your sleep quality to be lower because your stomach is growling and keeping you up. Some foods have preliminary research showing that they promote sleep, like bananas which contain serotonin, berries contain melatonin, and these are important for the chemicals in our brain that promote sleep.

6. Sugar

A lot of research already points to limiting sugar, specifically added sugar, to improve our overall health. Now, research also indicates that limiting sugar will also improve your sleep quality. As per Delia Saunders, a health blogger at Ox Essays “having too much sugar in your diet will cause your blood sugar levels to surge and dip throughout the day, increasing your caffeine intake and having bad naps. Instead, limit your sugar intake so your energy levels remain constant all day and you’ll get better sleep.”

7. Hydrate

We all know that our bodies don’t function as well when we don’t get enough water, which is especially obvious after a workout or on a hot summer day. Being dehydrated will cause us to be tired, irritated, and affect our concentration. Unsurprisingly, being dehydrated also disrupts our sleep quality. When you don’t drink enough water, your mouth and nasal passages will be drier and you are at higher risk of snoring, which prevents deep restorative sleep. You are also more likely to feel cramping in your legs which can wake you up in the middle of the night. Instead of drinking tons of water right before bed, which will also keep you up when your bladder’s full, stay hydrated throughout the day.

Ellie Coverdale, a health blogger at UK Writings, shares her knowledge on health and wellness, fitness, and personal development. She enjoys helping others reach their full potential through her blogs on Essay roo and Boom Essays.