Doctor's Speak Lifestyle Patient Awareness

Decoding Sleep and Nutrition by Dr. Naaznin Husein

Sleep and Nutrition_Dr.Naaznin Husein
Reading Time: 5 minutes

It is interesting to see we never miss charging our Mobiles in the night under any circumstance as we know having a phone running on a low battery is utterly nightmarish at work.

However, we often forget to recharge our batteries every night with adequate sleep very often feeling completed tired and drained through the day.

Some clear signs and symptoms of less sleep or disturbed sleep

  • Dark circles below the eyes
  • Urge to sleep an extra hour even after the morning alarm rings
  • Wake up tired in the morning
  • Increase in waist circumference
  • Increase in body weight,
  • Loss of hair or baldness
  • Decreased Libido

A Fatigued sleep-deprived mind leads to a tired and fatigued body

If you need a lie-in at weekends to make up for lack of sleep in the week, you may be at risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes, a study suggests.

The findings, shown at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, suggested increasing sleep could help patients. Researchers found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance,”

Studies have already shown that shift work can rapidly put healthy people into a pre-diabetic state.

The action of throwing the body clock out of sync is thought to disrupt the natural rhythm of hormones in the body, leading to a host of health problems.

It has been suggested that people are experiencing short-term sleep restrictions process glucose more slowly than individuals receiving a full 8 hours of sleep, increasing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

Knowing Sleep enemies and combating them

Avoid a heavy dinner after a long day at work

For friends who may have a long commute from work to home ensure you grab a healthy lean protein-rich snack (Hard Boiled eggs, Chicken Wrap with vegetables, Tofu sandwich) or a mini-meal by 6.30 – 7 pm when leaving office. When you reach home to avoid falling prey to a heavy meal (Thali full Garam Khanna)

Avoid sleeping immediately after a heavy meal

This may cause a lot of heartburn and abdominal discomfort. This may be especially true if you overeat or eat certain foods that induce heartburn. Lying down May because reflux symptoms that cause burning chest discomfort and a bitter taste in your mouth. Some people describe this as burping up food.

Avoid Very Spicy and Citrus foods

Spicy and acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes may be especially bothersome. Alcohol, chocolate, and even peppermint may also worsen heartburn and reflux.

The time between meal and sleep is critical

Eating too close to bedtime may harm your sleep.  Ideally, keep a gap of at least 2 hours between meal and sleep

Limit Consumption of Alcohol

Initially induces sleep.

Limit Caffeine

Also, caffeine in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate should be avoided. It blocks adenosine, a chemical that naturally makes us feel sleepy, and when consumed too close to bedtime may contribute to insomnia. It can also increase the need to urinate, which can lead to disruptive nocturia. Not everyone is sensitive to caffeine, but if you are, consider restricting its consumption to earlier in the day (stopping use by mid-afternoon).

Avoid intense exercise closer to bedtime

While training is a must avoid intense activity closer to bedtime as it may lead to a complete stimulation and delayed sleep and complete disruption of circadian cycles. Light stretching exercises in the evening along with yoga and mindful meditation can help induce better sleep

Never forget a Hot Cup of Milk

A warm cuppa of hot milk or Turmeric Latte aka Haldi milk can be a great sleep inducer and reduce inflammation.

Include complex carbohydrate with lower Glycemic index food like millets (Ragi, Jowar, Amaranth (Rajgeera), quinoa) as a part of your night dinner. Avoid desserts and sugary foods closer to bedtime.

Food and Mood Connect

Lack of Sleep increases stress, low levels of depression and huge cravings to satiate the taste buds Sugar, Fat and Salt cravings. The desire to eat emptied calorie food, colas, chips, Samosas, Cakes is highly pronouncing

Absolute Food Essentials which Promote sleep

Walnuts

Ensure you include nuts like Walnuts. A daily dose of 28gms approximately 12-14 halves of walnuts should be added as mid-evening snack (In replacement to high fat- snacks) or as a pre-workout meal. The fatty acid makeup of walnuts may also contribute to better sleep. They provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA may increase production of serotonin, a sleep-enhancing brain chemical.

Several other foods have sleep-promoting properties, but they have not been explicitly studied for their effects on sleep.

  • Milk: Another known source of tryptophan, milk has been shown to improve sleep in the elderly, especially when taken along with melatonin and paired with exercise
  • Bananas: Bananas contain tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium. Both of these properties may help you get a good night’s sleep
  • Oatmeal: Similar to rice, oatmeal is high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. Additionally, oats are a known source of melatonin
  • Cottage cheese: Contains a significant amount of casein, which is a milk protein that is well known to sustain overnight muscle repair and growth when consumed before bed.

Other Daily Lifestyle tips

A warm water bath can soothe the body after a hectic day at work and help muscles relax.

Reduce Screen Time

Long hours of Screen time at night keeps us from falling asleep and sleeping well due to cognitive stimulation and sleep deprivation. Your brain’s electrical activity increases, neurons race and divert you from calming down into a peaceful state of mind for sleep.

Also, the physical act of responding to an email, text, or video increases the tension in your body which results in stress. Your body then produces the stress hormone cortisol released by the adrenal gland aversive to sleep.

Furthermore, the brain naturally creates the hormone, melatonin that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Too much light from video screens at bedtime affect the melatonin production giving the body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep. Also, the screen emits light that suggests to the brain that it is still daytime which contributes to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Holding a device such as a smartphone close to one’s face increases this effect giving the brain the wrong signal as if it’s not time to go to sleep. The best advice is to stop watching TV or using smartphones and other screen devices an hour or two before bedtime to give your brain a rest and the correct signal that it is time for sleep.

Harvard Medical School scientists concur that specific wavelengths of light suppress the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin in the brain.

 

How much should we sleep?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel, issued its new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations…

  • New-borns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14) heavy dinners after a long day of work
  • Pre-schoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School-age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

So, stick to the age-old mantra –Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wise.

Leave a Comment