Your food choices affect your sleep


By Shruti Kulkarni
June 25, 2020
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The pandemic caused by the corona virus has disturbed lifestyle routines the world over. Apart from inconsistent meal times, work schedules and fitness regimes, a lot of people have had trouble with their sleep cycles. Like many others, you may have been sleeping for longer than normal or haven’t been able to fall asleep at night at all.

We can agree that sleep or rest is one of the basic necessities of the human body. You need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, preferably during a consistent time period. It is the most productive phase of human growth and development, as all the energy we require for the next day regenerates in our body during this phase of rest or sleep.

Sleep helps your body recover from the earlier day’s fatigue, and also helps you stay refreshed and energised the next day. Staying healthy and fit depends on the symbiotic amalgamation of a proper diet, proper exercise and proper sleep.

An irregular routine, thus, can negatively impact your overall health. In the present pandemic scenario, there could be many other factors affecting your sleep. Your choice of food, for example, is one of them.

Although there is no set menu chart that says that these are the best foods to consume for a restful night, there are a few foods that can directly affect your sleep quality. Let’s take a look!

Type And Quantity Of Carbohydrates & Proteins:


You must have experienced the postprandial effect (the post-lunch afternoon sleepiness) after an excess intake of simple sugars, rice preparations or sweet dishes. It’s an uncontrollable feeling of drowsiness, and waking up after such a nap often leaves you with a heavy head, a headache, moodiness or tiredness. It’s very rare that you’d feel fresh or lively after getting up.


In contrast, consuming complex carbohydrates like whole wheat, jowar or bajra is lighter on the stomach and can give you a good amount of calm sleep. You will usually feel refreshed and comfortable on waking up, no matter how long you slept.


You should also avoid heavy pulses or legumes like chickpeas, broad beans (dry) or rajma at night as they can be a reason for discomfort in the stomach and, thus, disrupt your sleep schedule.

Dairy Products:


A moderate intake of low-fat dairy products like warm milk (low fat) infused with a pinch of turmeric, cardamom or cinnamon, just before going to bed, proves beneficial for a good night’s sleep.


On the other hand, high-fat dairy products like paneer (cottage cheese) or processed cheese for dinner might lead to discomfort, bulk and heaviness, and cause sleep issues.

Excess Of Fried & Spicy Foods:


A consumption of high-fat foods is associated with discomfort and heaviness, which can interfere with your sleep at night.


An intake of fried, sugary foods can have the opposite effect, causing excess sleepiness. Waking up from a sleep like this can leave you with a sluggish feeling or a headache.
It’s best to avoid fatty, fried items at night and enjoy a light dinner loaded with vegetables, dal and less/no carbohydrates.

Excess Tea & Coffee:


Tea and coffee are the worst enemies to a good sleep regimen. These stimulants are great for keeping you wide awake especially after a heavy lunch or during long study/work nights.
So, if you’re planning on getting a good night’s sleep, stay away from that cup of tea or coffee.


You can replace your daily evening beverage with green tea or non-caffeinated coffee.

Excess Alcohol & Tobacco: 


Excessive consumption of alcohol and nicotine (tobacco) has adverse effects on your health.
It’s often used as a common sleep aid, but the fact is that it does not benefit you at all.
The deep sleep which follows high alcohol intake is similar to passing out due to the effect of the spirit. Alcohol consumption actually disrupts the restorative phase of sleep known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep which can lead to drowsiness and poor concentration during the day.


Smoking should be avoided at all costs as it affects the absorption of vital nutrients and also interferes with the brain cells, causing difficulty in sleeping.


Too much of anything is always bad! The key to a balanced lifestyle and a good sleep routine is moderation. Usually, a proper diet in addition to an exercise regime, stress management techniques and meditative practices have been found to be useful in regulating a disrupted sleep cycle. An Ayurveda practitioner can also recommend natural, herbal supplements to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system, so you can stay focused, relaxed & stress-free to enjoy restful sleep each night.

If you’re having trouble with your sleep during the lockdown, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our team, consisting of Ayurvedic vaidyas, nutritionists, yoga coaches and fitness trainers, is happy to assist you.

Getting your lifestyle back on track is easier with personalised guidance and care from experts. We are available for consultation on call or on video in the comfort of your home, and can help you plan and follow a structured and balanced routine that targets the root cause of your issue.

If you have any questions, do leave a comment below and our team will get back to you.

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