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It’s not just blockades and stress that affect our sleep, it’s what we eat.

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Last year we struggled with our happiness. It is almost acknowledged that the pandemic robbed us of our sleep, with one in four reporting night turbulence. But now we are also awakening to the “blockade pound” (or “self-isolating stone” among us, especially in the case of sourdough). Is there a connection between insomnia and a diet packed with comfort food?

Most of the chats about “Corona Somnia” were about emotional issues such as stress and anxiety. However, it has long been known that our diet can also affect our sleep patterns (and vice versa). Marie Pierre Saint-Onge is an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and the Institute of Human Nutrition. “The pandemic has had a number of effects on diet and physical activity,” she says.

“Yes, there have been some improvements, such as more home cooking and more fresh food,” she says. “But there have also been negative changes. Changes in dietary patterns and stressful diets can contribute to sleep deprivation, as well as poor eating habits, comfortable diets and increased alcohol.”

In 2016, Saint-Onge Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, It was predicted that eating more fiber would consume more time during the deep, slow wave sleep phase. In contrast, higher proportions of energy from saturated fats (contained in butter, cakes, biscuits, and processed meats) are predicted to result in less slow-wave sleep, indicating less recovery sleep.

“It was most surprising that even a day with high fat intake and low fiber could affect sleep parameters,” she says.

The study also found that participants fell asleep earlier after eating a fixed diet provided by a dietitian. Participants took an average of 29 minutes from eating their favorite foods and drinks to falling asleep, but only 17 minutes from eating a controlled diet to falling asleep.

People who consumed more sugar were also found to be more likely to wake up in the middle of the night, as well as taking longer to fall asleep. “Eating sweet foods, and additional body fat, usually from a high-sugar diet, reduces the effectiveness of hunger-suppressing hormones and metabolic-regulating hormones such as leptin and ghrelin,” says clinical psychologists. Michael Bleus,alias thesleepdoctor.co.uk.. “Thirst, and an appetite distorted by an overdose of sugar, can lead to a late-night diet that disrupts your sleep.

“Sleep deprivation exacerbates our sugar craving. Many studies show that poor quality and sleep deprivation interfere with the normal production and function of appetite-regulating hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. “I am,” he adds. Thus, we are exhausted and craving for refined carbs such as sweet snacks. And that continues.

Conversely, some specific foods are seen to help sleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland of the brain that helps control the sleep cycle. It can be taken synthetically (as a dietary supplement), but it is also found in various food groups such as mushrooms, eggs, and fish.Journal 2017 Review Nutrients “The concentration of melatonin in human serum can increase significantly after ingestion of melatonin-containing foods,” he said. The study referred to grains, sprouted legumes (bean sprouts or quinoa) and seeds as excellent dietary sources for melatonin.

In some of the “general” dietary literature, diets high in the amino acid L-tryptophan (contained in turkey, chicken, cheese, yogurt, and fish) affect the levels of the “feeling hormone” serotonin, and melatonin. Produces and leads to a healthier sleep. Partly true, but this is not a complete story. “Tryptophan-rich proteins need help from carbohydrate-rich foods to help tryptophan reach the brain and affect serotonin and melatonin levels,” says St-Onge. .. “Tryptophan competes with other amino acids to reach the brain. Sadly, it may not help to focus on eating more tryptophan.”

Certain fruits are also useful. In a four-week study, 24 adults ate two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime, fell asleep 42% earlier, and increased total sleep time by 13%. But this was clearly a small study. The combination of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon and tuna is also known to increase serotonin production and improve sleep quality.

When to eat is also important. “Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime,” says St-Onge. “If you’re hungry, have an easy-to-digest snack such as strained yogurt, cereals with milk, or fruit. But the important thing is to eat fiber all day long, not just dinner.”

It is well known that caffeine can interfere with sleep, according to some studies. The last cup of coffee must be 6 hours before bedtime. Interestingly, espresso shots have less caffeine (64 mg) than 8 ounces of cappuccino. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but when liver enzymes metabolize alcohol at night and your blood alcohol levels drop, you are more likely to experience sleep disorders and poor sleep quality. ..

Carbonated drinks are also bad news for sleep.Study from Lancet Announced in January 2021, it was found that out of 175,261 adolescents who drank three or more drinks a day, they were more than 50% more likely to report a sleep disorder. ..

“Given the growing awareness of the role of sleep in the development of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the discovery that diet can affect sleep has a profound effect on health. I will do it, “says St-Onge.

It got brighter tonight and the outdoor meals are back. This is a better diet and better sleep.

Insomnia Diary: How I Learned to Sleep Again (Introduction to Dr. Sophie Bostock) Miranda Levy was published by Astor on June 10th. Buy from Telegraph Books for £ 9.99 Or call 08448511514

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