「ASK THE EXPERTS」: The Relationship between Sleep and Diet

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Beyond Sleep has put our customers’ sleep health as a priority. Being your sleep expert, we are committed to providing the most sustainable and high-quality bedding products to enhance your sleep. We hope to use our experiences and professional knowledge to choose the most suitable and comfortable bedding for you and help you solve problems related to your sleep so that everyone can fully enjoy the beauty of life.

Therefore, we launch the series of ASK THE EXPERTSinviting experts from different aspects to explore the relationship between these fields and sleep health, hoping to help everyone achieve perfect night’s sleep.

1st Chapter of 「ASK THE EXPERTS」: The Relationship Between Sleep And Diet 

There is a saying: “You are what you eat.” What you eat determines who you are. What you eat also determines whether you sleep well or not. Our diet is closely related to our sleep. Poor sleep quality will affect our appetite. Eating habits will also affect sleep quality conversely. Beyond Sleep is honored to invite Tiffany Shek, Registered Dietitian (UK), to explore the relationship between diet and sleep.

Tiffany Shek's Bio

Tiffany Shek is a Registered Dietitian (UK) who is passionate about the science of nutrition and the art of great food. Academically, she obtained Master’s of Science in Nutrition at King’s College London, and her Postgraduate Degree in Dietetics at HKUSPACE thereafter. Between her years of studying, Tiffany attended Matthew Kenney Culinary School in Los Angeles, where she explored innovative ways to incorporate more plant-based ingredients into one’s diet. She also worked in several restaurants in Hong Kong and was the founder of Grain of Salt, the first evidence-based holistic wellness hub in Hong Kong.

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What is the biggest myth about sleep and diet?

The biggest myth is drinking alcohol before bed as a sleep aid. Actually, this is the most common misunderstanding, when in fact alcohol has the opposite effect. Alcohol might help you fall asleep but it disrupts the REM (Rapid Eye Moment) cycle, which means you will get a lower quality of sleep. Alcohol has also been shown to supress the body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone in charge of encouraging deeper sleep with reduced disturbances.

Why do we feel hungrier after a poor night's sleep?

One hypothesis for increased hunger after a poor night’s sleep is change of appetite-related hormones, namely leptin and  ghrelin. Few studies has shown a decrease in leptin, the hunger-supressing hormone, accompanied by an increase in ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormones, after sleep restriction (Dashti et al., 2015). 

Sleep deprivation has also shown to blunt the activity of appetitive evaluation regions of the brain, leading to a significant increased desire for intake of food, especially highly palatable, high-calorie foods and snacks (Greer et al., 2013). 

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Mediterranean Diet

Are there any diets that can help improve our sleep?

In general, adopting a Mediterranean Diet can help improve our sleep. This Diet focuses on healthy whole foods, such as plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains (i.e. brown rice, whole-wheat, barley). As for protein-rich options, the diet places emphasis on legumes and beans, such as chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils, fish and seafood, as well as nuts and seeds, which are high in good fats. Whilst wine can be consumed in moderation, remember not to have alcohol close to bedtime, as it can disrupt sleep.

What food and drink can interfere with our sleep?

It is common knowledge that caffeine, such as from tea and coffee, is a stimulant and helps us feel more alert. Energy drinks, pre-workout drinks and soft drinks are also hidden sources of caffeine – consuming these beverages near bedtime may lead to difficulty in falling asleep. Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, so the other half of the caffeine you consumed can last much longer. It is generally recommended to refrain from caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.

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Any other dietary advice for us to improve our sleep quality?     

Having Tart Cherry juice before sleep have been shown to improve sleeping time and quality in healthy adults, as tart cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a molecule that is critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. You can start with a small amount of concentrated tart cherry juice, such as 30ml before bedtime to enhance your sleep, as well as the benefit from the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the fruit.

quality sleep, better sleep

Different food nutrition and diet combination will not only affect our sleep quality but also affect our health and well-being in the long run. Take it seriously and enjoy every day and night with Beyond Sleep, guarding the quality of life in the daily moments.

Beyond Sleep, a sustainable sleep concept store for discerning sleepers who look for a journey to quality sleep. We aim for offering you the best-selected bedding products including mattresses, sustainable beds, mattress toppers, mattress protectors, pillows, pillow cases, bed linens, bed sheets, duvets, duvet covers, eco comforters, eco towels, bedding accessories, and other sleep-aided products, made from natural and sustainable materials which on one hand guarantee your sleeping quality; on the other hand, ensure we are acting as a force for good in aspects of community and environment as well.