We don’t need scientific research to realize the benefits of a good night’s sleep. For starters, we feel better when we’re well rested. We are also less likely to suffer from chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Of course, a healthy diet is critical for optimal health, as well. But few people realize the role good nutrition plays on sleep — and vice versa.
Sleep problems are often chalked up to stress, pain, medications, or schedule changes. But one trigger that’s often overlooked is our nutrition. Large epidemiological studies through the years have found that people with chronic sleep problems tend to have poorer diets, consuming less protein, fewer fruits and vegetables, and more sugary or processed foods. Poor sleep is also linked to weight gain. Conversely, being over or underweight can adversely impact sleep.
So, do our eating habits affect sleep? Or does the quality of our sleep impact nutrition? Or both? We asked experts to weigh in. The good news is that by making some small lifestyle changes, you can improve both your sleep and your diet.