How does your diet affect sleep?

Have you ever considered that what you eat can have an impact on your quality of sleep? Many of us struggle to sleep at some point in our lives, and the most common reasons for this include our health and wellbeing. Your diet, as we know, can have an impact on so many things, health and wellbeing being two of them.

When we look at the impact of diet on sleep, there’s a few things we think you should know.

How diet affects quality of sleep

The healthier our diet, the better our health. But have we thought about the impact it has on our sleep? Well, it’s pretty straightforward; the healthier our diet, the greater the chance of getting a better night of sleep.

Improving your diet is a great starting point if you are looking to improve your sleep. You should start by removing or reducing caffeine consumption, and monitor your eating times and the amount you eat.

But this isn’t just about removing bad food, it’s about increasing the good. Generally speaking, healthy foods can improve sleep quality. Foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins are considered sleep-friendly foods.

Other beneficial foods include items that are rich in melatonin, calcium, carbohydrates, magnesium, tryptophan and B6.

Diet: What not to do

Diet includes all consumables, so don’t just consider your food. Caffeinated foods – such as coffee and alcohol – or spicy foods, sugary foods and those with high fat content are not considered sleep-friendly because of the impact they have on your blood sugar and digestive system, so cut these out if you are struggling sleeping.

More about caffeine

Caffeinated consumables are stimulating for up to six hours, and therefore can impact your energy levels for a really long time after you have consumed them. You should avoid tea and coffee in the evening, as well as caffeinated fizzy drinks like Coca Cola.

If you’re struggling to sleep, caffeine is the first thing you should think about cutting.


Consuming alcohol before bed might help you fall asleep sooner, but it does impact the quality of your sleep, so if you’re waking up and feel like you haven’t been asleep, that glass of wine you have with dinner might be to blame.

Alcohol also makes you more likely to wake up through the night.

High fat content

Foods that are high in fat disrupt your circadian rhythm and negatively impact your sleep overall, so drop oily foods and cheese before bedtime.

High sugar content

Foods that are high in sugar have the same impact as caffeinated foods. They provide you with increased energy levels and make it harder for you to drop off.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods are delicious and loved by many. Most of us probably choose to eat them at night, but if you are struggling to sleep, you might want to think twice. Capsaicin, which is found in spicy food, increases your body temperature, which contradicts your body’s need for a lower temperature in order to sleep.

Spicy food also causes heartburn and acid reflux, and laying down makes this worse.

Avoid large meals before bed

Eating a large meal before bed can trigger discomfort and disrupt your quality of sleep, so try to make sure you eat earlier if possible. When you eat, your body redirects away from focusing on sleep and instead devotes itself to digest the food you have consumed.

Going to bed on an empty stomach

Perhaps you think it is a good idea to go to bed on an empty stomach, but trying to fall asleep when you are hungry is counterproductive. Hungry people tend to focus their attention on their hunger instead of going to bed on an empty stomach, and then sleep is restless, which impacts the amount of deep, restorative sleep you will get.

Could it be your mattress?

While your diet does have a huge impact on how high quality your sleep is, there are many other things that can impact its quality. Your mattress is one of them.

If your body is not properly supported, that might be the reason you feel uncomfortable when you’re sleeping, and this could wake you up in the night.

You should consider changing your mattress, especially if it is older than six years old.

For comfort, choose a new mattress made from all natural materials, as these are breathable and wick away moisture, for the most comfortable sleep you’ll ever have.

They’re also naturally fire resistant and hypoallergenic.

Ely mattresses come with a thirty day sleep trial and a ten year warranty. You can also choose to pay in instalments, to spread the cost. For more information, read about our thirteen layers of cotton, wool and horsehair.

If you’re ready to shop, browse our range.



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