Friday
14 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Eating habits, food choices will encourage healthier sleeping patterns

Nutritionist Prof Dr Qaiser Raza sees skipping breakfast behind insomnia and other sleep-related issues

In today’s society, inadequate sleep has become a prevalent problem and appears to be a public health concern, with adverse effects on the mental and physical performance of the body, according to nutritionists and medical experts.

In addition, some experts suggested that an increased incidence of chronic disorders like diabetes, cancer, and obesity can be attributed to decreases in sleep duration and quality. Several studies indicate that sleep disturbances are influenced by diet and food choices.

Poor dietary habits have been associated with an increased prevalence of sleep disorders and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and even death. Hence, those suffering from sleep problems can experience a general decline in quality of life and have a higher mortality rate than the general population.

People suffering from sleep problems can experience a general decline in quality of life

Mealtime, diet quality, and meal regularity all can influence circadian rhythm, and the experts identified meal pattern as a key signal for the circadian clock. Appropriate meal patterning synchronizes with circadian rhythms and affects sleep positively. On the other hand, poor meal patterning can adversely influence sleep.

Furthermore, meal timings have also been seen to affect sleep patterns. These days, the majority of adults skip breakfast, do late-night snacking, replace meals with snacks, have heavy evening meals, and have irregular mealtimes. These unhealthy eating patterns have a profound negative association with sleep quality among adults.

“What and when you eat can affect your sleep,” said Aris Iatridis, a sleep medicine specialist at Piedmont. Professor Dr Qaiser Raza, nutritionist at University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS) in Lahore, also confirmed that the biggest cause of insomnia and other sleep issues was skipping breakfast.

“In morning or after scheduled sleep time, skipping breakfast not only affects your ability to sleep but also your stress levels, general well-being, and degree of productivity,” he said. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that people who did not eat breakfast were 87 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and stroke than those who ate breakfast every day.

Young adults find themselves at a crucial stage for developing and maintaining all types of habits associated with health. There are many variables linked to young lives that could lead to specific changes in sleep and dietary habits, including competition between classmates, academic performance, increased use of screens, time management, access to affordable food, or relationships with peers.

‘There are many variables linked to young lives that could lead to specific changes in sleep and dietary habits’
‘There are many variables linked to young lives that could lead to specific changes in sleep and dietary habits’

From an approach focused on macronutrients, excessive consumption of sugar and saturated fats together with insufficient fiber intake seem to be correlated with low-quality sleep. Similarly, a shorter amount of sleep could also result from eating very few proteins and carbohydrates. Foods that people should avoid to have a good sleep at night include acidic foods, dark chocolate and peppermint, caffeine, high-fat foods, spicy meals, and condiments.

Conversely, some foods and drinks contain compounds that help improve the sleep cycle, according to experts. They said that these foods may help a person both fall and stay asleep, and these foods include legumes, bread, almonds, warm milk, kiwifruit, walnuts, cherries, and fatty fish.

People of all ages must remember that eating habits are significantly associated with sleep quality and its various components. Adhering to breakfast, having fixed meals at regular times, and decreasing intervals between the last meal and bedtime are associated with better sleep quality and sleep components.

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