Why What You Eat and Drink Affects Your Sleep Quality
When you eat and drink can affect your sleep, and how you sleep can impact how much and what you eat and drink. Meeting health-related goals like weight loss warrants attention to this interconnected relationship. Come explore the physiology so you can guide your clients thoroughly.
The body has many separate parts but ultimately (and ideally) works as a fluid system. Paying attention to the various components of human physiology helps all the parts work together fluidly; leading to more complete wellness.
How Sleep Affects Appetite
Sleep scientists have examined how a low night of sleep affects food choices by presenting study participants with a buffet of food the day after a full night’s sleep and after a low night of sleep. Food choices and caloric intake are recorded to determine the effect of sleep on appetite.
Not only do study participants eat more calories after not sleeping enough, but they choose foods that are richer in carbohydrates. Appetite hormones can be measured in saliva and also blood plasma.
When a person doesn’t get enough sleep…
Ghrelin increases. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger. Lack of sleep causes a person to eat more than usual or necessary.
Leptin decreases. Leptin is a hormone that signals the feeling of satiation and fullness. Without sleep, satiation is suppressed and hunger overrides.
Endocannabinoids increase. Endocannabinoids do in fact cause the munchies. Enough said.
Willpower and self-control are no match for these appetite hormones. It seems the internal chemistry of the human body can be challenging to override.
Sleeping enough regulates appetite but also limits the amount of time awake for eating to occur. (Unless you are a sleepwalker and find yourself in the pantry while snoozing!)
How much sleep is enough? However much leaves a person feeling rested in the morning and able to go about her day without caffeine or other alertness supplements.
Another food-related reason to get enough sleep is that after roughly six hours of nonfeeding, stored glucose, or glycogen, is depleted enough to initiate a shift from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism. Eating a few hours before bedtime and again shortly after waking has health benefits when there is enough sleep in between the two meals.
How Food Affects Sleep
Sleep might be better after an early and light dinner. Not just because of digestion but because the earlier a person finishes dinner, the earlier he can wind down for bed. We spend the entire day under-stimulation and stress. Allowing time to relax and settle down can help a person get the sleep he needs. Dinner signals the start of evening activities.
Try to finish eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime so your whole system is ready to relax. Drink alcohol in the early evening instead of right before bed so your body has time to digest it before you hit the sack. Make caffeine a morning-only drink and stick to other beverages in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine stays in your system longer than you might think and can disrupt your sleep.
Some sleep and circadian rhythm experts recommend limiting carbohydrates after 3 pm and also suggest avoiding sugar in the evening. Carbohydrates are more optimally metabolized in the morning and early afternoon, based on insulin levels and sensitivity.
Protein and healthy fats might be better choices for dinner when you’re wanting to sleep well and manage weight. Hunger before bed might be best remedied with nuts as a snack.
How Drinking Affects Sleep
Research studies show that sleep is disrupted when drinking any amount of alcohol in the evening – even if the study participant felt that they slept well.
The reason caffeine is best limited to the late morning and not again later in the day is that it is an antagonist to adenosine. Adenosine is responsible for building up the pressure to sleep. The pressure starts building when you wake up. If a person feels tired mid-morning he or she might not have gotten enough sleep. If a person feels sleepy in the afternoon, suggest a walk outside, nap or mediation before reaching for caffeine.
Low sleep and caffeine consumption can become a vicious cycle, just like sleeping pills. When a supplement is used to counteract lack of sleep and in effect disrupts sleep further – it requires a person to need the supplement, even more, to get by.
Any evening beverage consumption will likely land up in a trip to the bathroom at midnight. This isn’t necessarily a problem unless getting back to sleep is challenging.
Consuming plenty of water throughout the day becomes another important beverage-related habit to acquire for healthy sleep. Suggest people fill a jug of water and aim to finish it before dinnertime or set an alarm to remind them to catch up on water in the late afternoon. Sometimes the afternoon slump is simply a need for hydration, physical activity and a mental break from work.
Your Coaching Career
Our stress management coaching program is designed for life coaches, as well as fitness and wellness professionals who want to expand his or her knowledge in the lucrative and expanding field.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgment, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Becoming a Certified Wellness Coach is the perfect addition for the fitness professional who wants to offer more all-inclusive wellness services to clients. The time is now for you to enjoy this exciting and rewarding career, which offers you personal fulfillment while improving the lives of others.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.