If you’ve ever experienced struggling to sleep, you probably know that diet can affect the quality of your sleep. Caffeine, for example, is a definite no-no within a few hours of bedtime, and things like chocolate, ice cream, high fat foods, and citrus can also get in the way of a good night’s sleep. But beyond the basics, there might be some foods that are impacting your ability to get the sleep you need that you’re not aware of. Some foods can cause inflammation in the body, which can in turn disrupt your sleep. A recent study explored the role inflammation plays in sleep — here’s more on the findings and what they mean.
If you’re curious about the sleep stages, why we need sleep, and more, check out: The Science of Sleep
Struggling to Sleep — The Role Inflammation Plays
A team of scientists started out researching inflammation, and their //genesdev.cshlp.org/content/early/2018/10/26/gad.319228.118.abstract” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>study was published in Genes & Development, one of the Top Five Research Journals in the Field of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In this research study, scientists looked for the effects of inflammation within mice that had been genetically modified, and used a genetic switch that enabled them to turn inflammation on and off within the mice. They noticed that any time they deactivated the inflammation in a mouse, its body didn’t seem to know what time it was, which indicated that its circadian rhythm was off. As a result, the mouse couldn’t maintain a normal rest and activity cycle.
This is how researchers in the study were able to determine that the body’s clock and inflammation seem to be controlled by the same genetic factor. It’s called NF-kappa beta, or NFkB. When people suffer from inflammatory diseases, their body gets an excess of NF-kB, which sets off some chain reactions that lead to pain and damage to the tissue. And it seems that same catalyst controls the circadian rhythm, leading to people struggling to sleep.
Essentially, this study found that inflammation might cause sleep disorders in which the circadian rhythm isn’t working properly. This typically means your sleep is disrupted, so you don’t have the wake/sleep pattern you’re supposed to in order to feel fully rested. So how does the inflammation occur in the first place? You might have a diet that’s too high in fat, otherwise known as an inflammatory diet, resulting in you struggling to sleep.
Not sure why sleep is so important? Read: 5 Reasons to Wake Up to the Effects of Sleep Deprivation
What’s an Inflammatory Diet?
Certain foods are known for causing inflammation in the body’s tissues. Some of the worst offenders include red meat, processed meat, margarine and lard, refined carbs, and any food that has a lot of sugar in it. So if your diet is high in baked goods, white bread, pizza, cereal, bagels, chips, hot dogs, bacon, ice cream, etc. (basically all the stuff most people love to binge on), you’re eating a lot of potentially inflammatory foods.
Foods to Eat to Avoid Inflammation
If you’re struggling to sleep or have certain inflammation-related issues, like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or some types of cancer, modifying your diet to include foods to eat to avoid inflammation only makes sense. What foods are best when it comes to avoiding inflammation? They include olive oil, leafy greens, avocados, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, and fatty fish. Many fruits are also anti-inflammatory, such as blueberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, and cherries.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods is a good start if you want to improve your sleep quality. But while you’re tweaking your diet, take note that there are a few other foods that can help you stop struggling to sleep, as well. For example, the potassium in bananas can make your muscles more relaxed when it’s time to sleep. And protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, tuna, tofu, and turkey all contain both vitamin B6 and tryptophan. That’s important because those nutrients can increase melatonin in your body, signaling the body that it’s time to go to sleep.
If you’re not sure how melatonin is good for you, take a look at: 15 Health Benefits of Melatonin
So if you’re struggling to sleep, it may be time to change your diet so you’re consuming lots of anti-inflammatory foods. You can also get some sleep help by trying our Blueberry-Flavored Sleep Formula, which absorbs quickly and is free of fillers, preservatives, and gluten. Try it today to get started on your quest to stop struggling to sleep!