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Nutrition and Sleep: Everything You Need To Know

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Update: May 11, 2023
6 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
Nutrition And Sleep

We all know how proper nutrition is exceptionally vital for your health. You also need a healthy sleep routine for your overall well-being. Even if you consume a rich balanced meal every day and need to maintain proper sleep hygiene, it will make you lose the brownie points. Let’s understand everything you need to know about nutrition and sleep. 

What Is Nutrition?

Nutrition is a biochemical and physiological process in living organisms for overall well-being. A balanced meal provides you with the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals for a healthy you. Sometimes, when you cannot get all the nutrients from your food, you can take supplements after consulting with your doctor. 

How Does Nutrition Affect Sleep?

What you eat reflects on your skin, your sleep patterns, and more! Nutrition is the main component of good health. Food gives you the fuel your body needs for a variety of functions. 

A balanced diet is always advised to ensure your body receives all the necessary nutrients. When your eating habits go haywire, it can affect your weight, and obesity is associated with poor sleep. It was seen that missing nutrients, such as calcium and vitamins like A, C, D, and E can cause sleep issues. 

You must be mindful of what you eat before you sleep as well. For instance, avoiding a high-carb meal before bed can be ideal as it is linked to sleep difficulty and can also lead to awakenings. Even when choosing to lose weight, don’t get trapped in unhealthy diets. Instead, opt for something healthy, such as the Mediterranean diet. 

Does an Unhealthy Diet Affect Sleep Disorders?

Yes, unhealthy eating habits can affect sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a health condition where your breathing stops and starts when you are asleep. Now, there is a connection between nutrition and sleep apnea. Obesity puts you at a risk. In fact, for some, losing weight can help manage sleep apnea symptoms. You must also be mindful of what you eat when you suffer from sleep disorders. For instance, alcohol can aggravate sleep apnea. 

How Sleep Affects Nutrition?

Sleep is crucial. Your body heals and flushes out the toxins when you are asleep. However, for a good night’s rest, it is also essential that you give your body proper food and maintain an ideal weight. 
Poor sleep is connected to obesity and increases your waist circumference. Poor sleep is also a culprit that causes you to consume unhealthy food. This becomes a continuous cycle then. Unhealthy food can hamper your sleep, leading to other unhealthy choices. 

How Sleep Affects Nutrition and Body Weight

As aforementioned, sleep and nutrition go hand-in-hand because poor sleep leads to unhealthy eating and vice versa. 

Sleep, Metabolism, and Appetite Hormones

Metabolism is a process where your food is converted into energy. Here, all the calories that you have consumed are used to make energy and oxygen. While you may think only nutrition plays a vital role in this process, that’s incorrect. Sleep is also necessary. When you enjoy proper sleep, it can create chemical messengers needed to carry out this process effortlessly. 

What happens when you don’t sleep well? Well, the food consumed is not utilised correctly, and your body craves more. It is why people binge eat. Infact, if you regularly sleep for less than six hours, it can put you at risk of obesity. Also, sleep deprivation can adversely affect your appetite hormones and lead to weight gain. 

Sleeping for short periods every night can cause metabolic syndrome, which can lead to various issues, such as obesity and cardiovascular problems. 

Foods That Can Impact Sleep

To ensure a seamless connection between nutrition and sleep, you must make the right food choices. So, can diet affect sleep? Yes. While the relationship between nutrition and sleep may seem complicated, it isn’t. You must learn about food that’s good for you and foods that disrupt sleep.


Consuming too much sugar, on the whole, isn’t good for you. But too much sugar before bed can lead to insomnia and also fill you with excess energy, which is not something you need at that time. Also, too much sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes.

Caffeinated Beverages and Chocolate

Maybe you enjoy a piece of chocolate right before bed or it’s a cup of hot cocoa that comforts you. But caffeine is also present in chocolate. Therefore, if you feel stimulated by small amounts of caffeine, it is important to avoid it before bed. Also, caffeine tends to stay in your system for a long time. So, it is essential to avoid them late in the evening. 


If you are wondering does diet affect sleep? Yes, what you eat can dictate your sleep cycle. So, if you are a meat lover, it’s best to consume it for lunch and not dinner. It is because meat can be difficult to digest. So, it may keep you up at night and also cause indigestion. 


If you are having sleep troubles, it’s best to reduce alcohol, especially before bedtime. While alcohol induces sleep, it leads to nighttime awakenings and also disrupts your REM sleep stage.


If you tend to feel thirsty, drink some water before bed. But consuming too much liquid can wake you up at night for bathroom trips. Therefore, you must be careful when it comes to eating and sleep.

Spicy Foods

As Indians, spicy food is common in most households. But at night, tone it down. Spicy foods can cause acidity, heartburn, and acid reflux. It can make you feel extremely uncomfortable and prevent you from enjoying a good night’s rest. Since diet and sleep are interlinked, paying attention to what you eat at night is essential. 

Fatty Foods

Chessy greasy food sounds like heaven after a long day. However, fatty foods can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Because they not only take time to digest but also make you feel too full. 

Foods That Help You Sleep

Now that you know the connection between insomnia and nutrition, let’s look at the foods that help you sleep


Regarding nutrition and sleep for athletes, almonds can be great for you. It boosts your sleep by enhancing the production of melatonin. They are also rich in magnesium, which is known to improve sleep quality as it fulfils almost 19% of daily requirements.  Almonds can also reduce cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. 

Warm Milk 

Does warm milk help you sleep? Yes. Warm milk is rich in tryptophan, which decreases the time to fall asleep and can be useful for insomnia patients. Also, a glass of warm milk at night can be comforting and help reduce any stress. 

Chamomile Tea

One of the most popular drinks before bed is chamomile tea. It is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, which can be wonderful for your health. It can also benefit your immune system and help with depression and anxiety. Finally, it comes with mild sedative effects that can induce sleep.  

White Rice 

White rice is a staple in most households in India. It is not only filling but can also be satisfying. Since its glycemic index is high, consuming it before bed can be wonderful for your sleep.


Next time you want something sweet or are craving a snack, a banana is the best as it can help you with sleep as it is rich in tryptophan and magnesium.  

How To Improve Sleep and Nutrition

A dietitian can be a great option if you want to enhance your nutrition and sleep. When you speak with your doctor, they can offer you the right solution according to your body type, health, sleep needs, and more because you have already seen how sleep and eating habits are correlated. 


But the first thing in order is to maintain healthy sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up simultaneously helps you out and can also reduce the risks of obesity. Also, if you have problems with sleeping and eating, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor. 

If you were wondering can diet affects sleep, you now know the answer. Proper nutrition helps you sleep better and a good night’s rest can help you make healthy eating choices. Make sure you avoid all the foods that can disrupt your sleep and consume food that can help you with the slumber. 


How does nutrition affect sleep?

How does diet affect sleep? Well, proper nutrition helps you with your overall health and ensures you enjoy a good night’s rest. For example, when you eat cheesy greasy fatty foods, it can make you feel extremely full and can also lead to indigestion. 

What nutrition helps sleep?

Some foods, such as warm milk, almonds, turkey, and chamomile tea can help you sleep. 

Can poor nutrition cause insomnia?

Yes, poor nutrition can be one of the reasons for insomnia

What nutrient deficiency affects sleep?

Does diet affect sleep? Yes. Minerals and vitamins, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin K and B12 deficiency can affect sleep

What foods cause difficulty sleeping?

Foods such as meat and spicy foods can cause sleeping difficulty. 


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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