Expert Opines on the role of Nutrition on Sound Sleep and Improved Mental Health

How to have sound sleep and stay calmer

It takes effort to practice good sleep hygiene and get ourselves to fall asleep. Sticking to a strict bedtime routine, creating an environment that is more sleep-proof, practicing relaxing techniques at bedtime, no screens, and blue-light exposure, and calming essentials oils- all of them are necessary to get the process started, but have you thought about how nutrition and sleep go hand-in-hand? Have you noticed when you haven’t slept well, you seem to be very lethargic or tired the following day, you’re more likely to give in to eating “junk” food or crave something rich in sugar, salt or fried food?

When we are sleep-deprived, it disturbs our two hormones that look after our hunger and fullness signals. These include the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormone Leptin which plays an important role in helping us feel full. The balance between ghrelin and leptin gets disturbed which makes it difficult for us to sense our fullness cues. As a result, we cannot do eat the right portion of food, binge eat and crave for sugary items.

Result of Sleeplessness

Lack of sleep also impacts our metabolism, ability to recover well post high-intensity workouts, worsens insulin resistance, sets the stage for inflammation and is linked to anxiety and depression.

Result of healthy sleep routine

The same goes the other way around, when you sleep well, your hormones are in better sync and you’re more likely to gravitate towards nutritious food choices and insulin resistance, inflammation decrease and you’re calmer and have improved mental capacity. This establishes how nutrition and what you eat play a role in helping you sleep well and improve your mood. So, Karishma Shah of Integrative Health Nutritionist & Holistic Wellness Coach gives some tips for nutritious eating and sleep well for a calmer mind.

Limit Caffeine

To ensure that your diet is supporting adequate sleep firstly, limit caffeine intake from tea, coffee, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, etc. Caffeine inhibits adenosine, this is a chemical that induces sleep, and thus avoid consuming it closer to bedtime as it may lead to sleep disturbances.

Tryptophan-rich food

Adequate balance of protein and carbohydrates throughout the day will ensure enough amino-acid tryptophan absorption and uptake by the brain which acts as a precursor for Serotonin, which gets converted to melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and deep sleep.

Nuts for the essential fatty acids and micronutrients

Snacking on Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews once a day is a great way to incorporate essential fatty acids that are known to promote good sleep.

Eat your greens

Magnesium and fibre-rich green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, etc. also improve nutritional status and promote sound sleep.


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