A Better Diet May Mean Better Sleep

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Fatty Foods  

    Fatty foods including ice cream, greasy French fries, and bacon, may taste good, but they aren't good for your health. In addition to weight gain, fatty foods cause heartburn, indigestion, and cholesterol problems that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.


    Now new research published in Cell Metabolism reports that consuming too much fatty food can disrupt the circadian rhythm and cause sleep problems.


    All forms of life respond to the cycles of the sun, the moon and the changing seasons. This is called the biological clock, or, to use a more scientific term, the circadian rhythm. The word "circadian" comes from the Latin words "circa," meaning about, and "dia," meaning day, or twenty-four hours.

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    This cycle is influenced by light and darkness. People have been aware of its existence for centuries, perhaps as long ago as 4 B.C. Research into circadian rhythm is referred to as chronobiology. Chrono refers to time.


    Circadian rhythm keeps the body alert during daylight hours and helps it to relax when night falls. This inner clock will even awaken you if you forgot to set your alarm. Unfortunately, it will also awaken you on days when you could sleep in!


    Joe Bass of Northwestern University put mice on a diet high in fat. In a matter of days there were behavioral changes, especially in patterns of sleeping and eating.


    The circadian rhythm, or internal clock, according to a quote from Joe Bass, published by Softpedia: "We now show that the clock is also clearly influenced by the composition of the diet."


    If you are suffering from insomnia and you think it might be diet related, here are some tips to improve your nutrition, and, possibly, your sleep.


    • Eat the proper foods. Be aware of nutritional content. Know your vitamins and minerals, how much of each you need and what foods are rich in these nutrients.
    • Avoid fatty foods, especially those high in cholesterol. Have your doctor check your cholesterol level and try to keep it under control. And remember, fatty foods produce fatty people.
    • Keep your consumption of sweet desserts, candy and anything high in sugar content to a minimum. Sugary treats do taste delicious, but they are filled with empty calories, and not only supply little nutrition, but they also cause weight gain.
    • Eat three balanced meals a day. Don't skip breakfast or you'll spend the rest of the day feeling hungry.
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Use these to replace greasy doughnuts, potato chips, and sweets when you want to snack.
    • If you are suffering from a weight problem, join a good diet group. I belong to TOPS and I have found the support and the Exchange Plan diet they use excellent. Weight Watchers is one of the best-known groups. Jenny Craig also seems to have a good program. Other plans that you can do on your own or online: Slim Fast, Cyberdiet and ediets. An online search will no doubt reveal more.
    • Avoid fad diets. They may take off the pounds quickly, but once off the diet, the weight comes back full force. These fad diets often do more harm than good.
    • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. It will help to flush out wastes and will also reduce hunger pangs.
Published On: November 19, 2007