Diet and Sleep Part Two

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • You are what you eat

    I can hear you saying, "Okay... now I have to watch what I eat

    and when I eat it... but now you are going to limit my fluids?"


    No! However, there are certain factors that should be kept in

    mind when drinking any type of fluids. One troublesome item is

    caffeine. Caffeine interferes with sleep with most people.

    Caffeine can also become an addiction... so watching our intake

    should be important.


    Nursing mothers should be even more careful

    than most others, since the caffeine can travel through the

    breast milk to the infant causing many problems with the child's

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    sleep patterns. Infants do not process the caffeine very well,

    and it takes a long time for the caffeine to exit their systems.

    With this in mind, caffeine can build up in the infant's system

    causing many different sleep disturbances.


    So how much caffeine does it take to cause problems? This

    question can be answered simply by stating that everyone is

    different. One person could be affected with two cups of coffee,

    when others can drink more and not have a terrible effect. One

    soft drink contains the same amount of caffeine that is in one

    half cup of coffee.


    To avoid such problems, one should try and

    not consume and coffees, teas, or soft drinks that contain

    caffeine after their dinner. Some that seem to be overly

    sensitive to the effects of caffeine should try to limit their

    intake even sooner than dinner. It takes three full hours for

    one cup of coffee to be eliminated from the system.


    The extras


    We've hit upon certain factors in both food and fluids that can

    hamper sleep or induce sleep. When doing research, I came upon

    some extras that need to be addressed as well. Many people have

    taken candy bars and the such to work or school to help boost

    their energy. However, the effects of the sugar can actually do

    the exact opposite at times. Eating sugary foods can boost your

    level of energy, but it will be used by the body at a fast rate.



    The body processes sugar,  which then triggers insulin to be

    released, therefore creating an incredible sugar high. Once the

    sugar starts being processed out of the system, the individual

    may experience an energy low causing sleepiness or irritability.

    Everyone has a different effect from sugar, but for sleeping

    sake... one should try and stay away from sugary foods until

    after the part of the day that they need to be most productive.

    The same is said about just before bedtime. By taking in that

    sugar before you try to go to sleep, it will hinder it by

    creating the sugar high... therefore causing you to stay awake.


    Nicotine is the other extra that can hamper your sleep patterns.

    Along with alcohol... they both can interrupt your sleep.

    Nicotine is a stimulant that will cause you much grief with

    insomnia. Alcohol is a depressant that if taken in doses large

    enough will cause you to become sleepy. By taking these drugs,

    they will come between you and your normal sleep pattern.


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    Eating a huge meal right before going to sleep or going to sleep

    hungry can also compromise good sleep patterns. If you are

    hungry at bedtime, it would be sensible to have a small snack to

    tide you over until the next morning. It would also be good to

    evaluate your eating patterns to see if you should add a snack

    or change your times for having large meals to accommodate your

    body's needs.


    By simply restructuring your meals, it could

    greatly affect your sleep or your lack of sleep.

Published On: June 16, 2009