While we all hate a sleepless night, we are not always aware of the serious health issues that can be associated with insomnia. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression are just a few of the problems that are linked to sleepless nights.
The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study has shown a link between a higher risk of insomnia and a diet rich in refined carbohydrates. It is unclear whether eating refined carbs led to insomnia or if insomnia caused a craving for them. The link merely shows that people with insomnia were more likely to consume refined carbohydrates. At David’s Way we always advise you to avoid simple, refined carbohydrates.
What we do know is that when we eat refined carbohydrates the blood sugar rises quickly and we release insulin which drops our blood sugar. As a result of the drop in blood sugar we may release cortisol and/or adrenaline which are hormones that can interfere with restful sleep.
The sugars found in fruits and vegetables do not present a problem because the fiber found in plants prevents the fast absorption of the sugars so there is no spike in blood sugar levels and therefore, no subsequent hormone release. A banana is a sweet treat that contains potassium and magnesium which are natural muscle relaxants. They also contain L-tryptophan which is used to make serotonin and melatonin, all of which are helpful for restful sleep. Oats, cherries and milk also support good sleep. Low-fat proteins that are rich in vitamin B like fish, poultry and eggs help to regulate melatonin. A healthy diet like we advocate here at David’s Way is your best sleep supporting nutrition.
While nutrition is important in managing your sleep, so is your body fat. Too much fat around your midsection can contribute to acid reflux, sleep apnea and overall restlessness. Get to a healthy body fat percentage and reap the benefits of more restful nights. This website is free. We have the Calorie Counter Pro that is completely private and will tell you the number of calories that you need to achieve your weight management goals. We have over 600 articles that will give you information about all things weight related along with hundreds of healthy recipes including your favorite desserts made over to be sugar-free and usually providing a healthy dose of protein.
While none of these methods are a “cure” for insomnia, all of these methods will help you rest. Sleep is important to your overall health and wellbeing. See your M.D. to treat insomnia when it is chronic because the long-term effects of chronic insomnia include but are not limited to anxiety, fatigue, impaired memory, diabetes, heart disease and chronic pain. In your quest for better health make certain that you find a way to catch some zzz’s.