The Way of Sleeping Better

Michael Kong

Sleep is essential for the body to function properly. There are many factors which affect the quality of sleep. The length of photosynthesis during the day, financial crisis, digital devices, Covid panic, and gut health take important parts of sleep.

According to Nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik, author of Happy Gut, Happy Mind, there are two main sleep complaints: “Those who fall asleep easily but wake in the night, perhaps due to what they ate or drank that day, and those who cannot get to sleep in the first place because they are ruminating, often due to a digital device. Something as simple as reading a worrying email just before bed can disrupt a whole night’s sleep and consequently, your ability to focus the following day.” 

According to Kalinik, stress releases cortisol, waking hormone, and it typically spikes between 2 and 4am which can mean those who are under pressure during the day can be wide awake during those hours. She suggests that it would be good to take the hour before bed to remove stress which might mean writing down any concerns and ‘brain dumping’ from the day, so this stress is not swirling around the mind. Also, it is recommended to stop using electronic device because Blue-light exposure in the evening is particularly disruptive.

Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, tells NBC News BETTER that “Eating healthy and allowing the body to absorb proper nutrients provides the brain with the chemical environment that it needs to produce the neurotransmitters that it needs to maintain adequate sleep.” There is a connection between sleep and how we metabolize food, said Kristin Eckel-Mahan, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston.

There are several suggestions for eating habit before go to bed.

1. To avoid caffeine after midday. This is because caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for up to six hours after consumption.

2. To make sure the meal includes a diversity of fibre and fermented foods to support the health of gut microbiota.

3. To try to avoid high-energy food and drinks. These will disrupt sleep.

4. To reduce the alcohol consumption. The alcohol makes the body to fall asleep quickly, but wakes the body up before it is fully rested. The sleep cycle rebounds and the brain tends to keep the body in the lighter sleep stages (including rapid eye movement or REM sleep) the rest of the night.

5. To stay well-hydrated all day long. A lack of water dries out the mouth and nasal passages, which might increase snoring and may cause hoarseness of breath in the a.m.