Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. We may blame stress, but did you know that when we eat and our eating times affect how much and how well we sleep?

Eating times: How the timing of meals impacts your sleep

Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. We may blame stress, but did you know that when we eat and our eating times affect how much and how well we sleep?

September 5th, 2023

How eating times of your meals are impacting your sleep!

We all notice that when we don’t get those much-needed zzzs at night, we tend to be groggy, fatigued, and unmotivated the next day. But sometimes, no matter how early our heads hit the pillow, it is very difficult to even fall asleep. And then we didn’t mention the quality of sleep yet. We may blame our stress and racing thoughts, but did you know that how much and how well we sleep are both affected by our eating times?

It’s very important for our wellbeing to have a good sleeping schedule. This article will tell you about how the timing of our meals is connected to our sleep. We will also offer some tips and tricks you can put in place to help. That way, you can make sure you’re getting properly recharged each night.

Eating times woman sleeping.

Breakfast & sleep

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This statement is actually backed by science! Several studies have shown that skipping breakfast is associated with less sleep. That’s because eating breakfast, specifically within an hour of waking up, helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. Earlier this week, we blogged about how our circadian rhythms are tied to sleep. Keeping them in check is essential for some quality sleep time. When we skip breakfast, the natural cycles of our bodies and brains may become disrupted a bit. This leads to us sleeping less because our bodies release relaxation and alertness hormones at altered times. 1-3

What’s more, skipping breakfast may lead to a steep drop in blood sugar levels. This may trigger the release of cortisol, our stress hormone, which is intended to keep us awake and on the move. Your first meal of the day does a lot more than you think! It affects how much and how well we sleep, and plays an important role for our wellbeing. 4

Dinner & sleep

Postponing our dinners for too long is not good. The later you have dinner or a late-night snack, the more dysregulated our internal rhythm and hormones get. To give you a quick recap: try to consume most of your food during the day and avoid overeating before bedtime. This will ensure you get a restful night’s sleep and feel your best. 3

Effects of intermittent fasting on sleep

Studies have shown that people who practice time-restricted eating (TRE) may have some improvements in their sleep. This could be because people who practice TRE often don’t eat past 8 p.m. And as we’ve already mentioned, that is helpful for our internal rhythm. Maintaining consistent windows of eating and fasting could also result in mild-to-moderate weight loss, lower blood pressure, and less bloating. These can all work together towards increasing wellbeing and better sleep. If you prolong your fast and skip breakfast, you may still get some sleep benefits as long as you stick to your eating window. Still, it’s difficult to say exactly how strong these improvements are. Moreover, most studies didn’t include individuals who struggle with sleep problems.   5-6

What about the composition of my meals?

We’ve talked a lot about how the eating times of our meals has an effect on how easily we fall asleep and the quality of sleep we get. But let’s not forget that what you eat during those meals also matters! A dinner that is high in carbs will have a different effect on your sleep compared to one that is high in protein. While this is not the case for everyone, a meal high in carbs can make you sleepy.

Eating more carbs

Eating more carbs increases the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that can make you feel more relaxed. The type of carbs you consume can also affect this process. Foods very high in sugar will cause a blood sugar spike and a drop that could disturb your sleep! Meanwhile, a meal that is high in protein will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. It might also keep you feeling fuller for longer! This might help you if you have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night due to a growling stomach. 7-8

But it’s not just the macronutrient composition of your meal that matters. If you want to feel more relaxed and improve your sleep, you might want to try eating foods that are high in magnesium and calcium. These minerals can help our muscles relax and unwind, leading to a deep, total-body slumber. Try adding foods like spinach, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your dinners to get the effects. 9-10

You can control more than you think

To sum up, many factors play a role in the quality of our sleep, and when you eat is one that you can control. Skipping breakfast or postponing it too long has been shown to decrease the quality of our sleep. But, some people who practice TRE may want to delay having breakfast as they already have a small eating window.

It’s  recommended not to eat too late, and to reduce late-night snacking, so that we keep our blood sugar levels stable. Be aware that what you eat matters. Try to sneak some of those foods that are high in magnesium and potassium in there!  If you’re looking for other methods to improve your sleep, try to add some exercise into your day. Join our Happy Nation Games, and feel the benefits of our holistic wellbeing approach.

Happy Nation Blog

Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. We may blame stress, but did you know that when we eat and our eating times affect how much and how well we sleep?

Eating times : How the timing of meals impacts your sleep

Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. We may blame stress, but did you know that when we eat and our eating times affect how much and how well we sleep?

September 5th, 2023

How eating times of your meals are impacting your sleep!

We all notice that when we don’t get those much-needed zzzs at night, we tend to be groggy, fatigued, and unmotivated the next day. But sometimes, no matter how early our heads hit the pillow, it is very difficult to even fall asleep. And then we didn’t mention the quality of sleep yet. We may blame our stress and racing thoughts, but did you know that how much and how well we sleep are both affected by our eating times?

It’s very important for our wellbeing to have a good sleeping schedule. This article will tell you about how the timing of our meals is connected to our sleep. We will also offer some tips and tricks you can put in place to help. That way, you can make sure you’re getting properly recharged each night.

Eating times woman sleeping.

Breakfast & sleep

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This statement is actually backed by science! Several studies have shown that skipping breakfast is associated with less sleep. That’s because eating breakfast, specifically within an hour of waking up, helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. Earlier this week, we blogged about how our circadian rhythms are tied to sleep. Keeping them in check is essential for some quality sleep time. When we skip breakfast, the natural cycles of our bodies and brains may become disrupted a bit. This leads to us sleeping less because our bodies release relaxation and alertness hormones at altered times. 1-3

What’s more, skipping breakfast may lead to a steep drop in blood sugar levels. This may trigger the release of cortisol, our stress hormone, which is intended to keep us awake and on the move. Your first meal of the day does a lot more than you think! It affects how much and how well we sleep, and plays an important role for our wellbeing. 4

Dinner & sleep

Postponing our dinners for too long is not good. The later you have dinner or a late-night snack, the more dysregulated our internal rhythm and hormones get. To give you a quick recap: try to consume most of your food during the day and avoid overeating before bedtime. This will ensure you get a restful night’s sleep and feel your best. 3

Effects of intermittent fasting on sleep

Studies have shown that people who practice time-restricted eating (TRE) may have some improvements in their sleep. This could be because people who practice TRE often don’t eat past 8 p.m. And as we’ve already mentioned, that is helpful for our internal rhythm. Maintaining consistent windows of eating and fasting could also result in mild-to-moderate weight loss, lower blood pressure, and less bloating. These can all work together towards increasing wellbeing and better sleep. If you prolong your fast and skip breakfast, you may still get some sleep benefits as long as you stick to your eating window. Still, it’s difficult to say exactly how strong these improvements are. Moreover, most studies didn’t include individuals who struggle with sleep problems.   5-6

What about the composition of my meals?

We’ve talked a lot about how the eating times of our meals has an effect on how easily we fall asleep and the quality of sleep we get. But let’s not forget that what you eat during those meals also matters! A dinner that is high in carbs will have a different effect on your sleep compared to one that is high in protein. While this is not the case for everyone, a meal high in carbs can make you sleepy.

Eating more carbs

Eating more carbs increases the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that can make you feel more relaxed. The type of carbs you consume can also affect this process. Foods very high in sugar will cause a blood sugar spike and a drop that could disturb your sleep! Meanwhile, a meal that is high in protein will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. It might also keep you feeling fuller for longer! This might help you if you have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night due to a growling stomach. 7-8

But it’s not just the macronutrient composition of your meal that matters. If you want to feel more relaxed and improve your sleep, you might want to try eating foods that are high in magnesium and calcium. These minerals can help our muscles relax and unwind, leading to a deep, total-body slumber. Try adding foods like spinach, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your dinners to get the effects. 9-10

You can control more than you think

To sum up, many factors play a role in the quality of our sleep, and when you eat is one that you can control. Skipping breakfast or postponing it too long has been shown to decrease the quality of our sleep. But, some people who practice TRE may want to delay having breakfast as they already have a small eating window.

It’s  recommended not to eat too late, and to reduce late-night snacking, so that we keep our blood sugar levels stable. Be aware that what you eat matters. Try to sneak some of those foods that are high in magnesium and potassium in there!  If you’re looking for other methods to improve your sleep, try to add some exercise into your day. Join our Happy Nation Games, and feel the benefits of our holistic wellbeing approach.