Is there a link between sleep and food?

Autumn has arrived, how would you like to create some good habits this month? Healthy mind and healthy bodies allow you to apprehend the return to work in a much more pleasant way.

Better health means better sleep

There are many different solutions to maximize your sleep.

Your diet is often not associated with sleep, but it is in fact related and can play a role in improving your sleep. For example, it is proven that bad sleep increases weight gain and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, etc. Furthermore, lack of sleep can make you feel more hungry.

How can we cure your sleep? Here are 4 simple and effective tips to help you find a good balance between sleep and diet:

1. Eat meals at regular times

2. Choose lighter meals in the evening but make sure they are slow-release carbohydrates

3.Avoid stimulants in the late afternoon (coffee, tea, alcohol, etc.)

4.Avoid watching TV or a computer screen just before bedtime

(INSV recommends to stop the screen usage 1h30 before going to bed)

In case you wake up at night, opt for a quiet activity like reading or listening to the radio, in bed in a half-seated position. You could also get up and go to a nearby room to do something else. You can do “boring” activities such as ironing or tidying up your home, who knows, it could end up exhausting you… Either way, you will always feel better in a clean home.

What foods should you avoid before going to bed ?

Tous les excitants. Comme dit précédemment, tous les excitants de type café, thé, alcool ou encore des boissons énergisantes ou trop sucrés.

Non seulement tous ces aliments vous empêcheront de vous endormir directement, mais en plus cela risque de fragmenter votre sommeil et d’augmenter les micro-réveils tout au long de la nuit, tout comme le fait de manger trop gras. Si vous souhaitez manger une raclette (par exemple), privilégiez de la savourer sur le repas du midi. Mais attention, manger gras favorise la somnolence donc prévoyez de ne pas avoir une deuxième partie de journée très active.

On the other hand, here are the foods that you should be eating

Hot drinks before going to bed

Consuming it hot makes falling asleep easier. The National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance explains that drinking hot before bedtime helps ‘promote a decrease in internal temperature through a thermal exchange mechanism’ and this ‘triggers sweating that will cool the entire body.'”

Fatty Fish

Do you know what salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel have in common? They are all fatty fish that can help us get the best sleep possible. You heard correctly, these foods are very rich in omega-3, a fatty acid that helps our brain to function well on a daily basis but that is also useful to fall asleep.

If you are not a fan of fish, we recommend that you eat other sources of homega-3, such as rapeseed oil or flax. 

Eating rice for dinner

A study conducted by American researchers recently found that people who ate rice at dinner took half as long to fall asleep compared to others.

But why? Well, it would be due to the very low glycemic index that it contains, which is absorbed very slowly by the body. This allows for a light digestion without a spike in blood sugar,  thus promoting a quick and lasting sleep.

The squash seeds

In recent years, seeds (flax, sunflower, chia, sesame, poppies, etc.) have been used more and more in the kitchen (we sprinkle them in our soups, yogurt or salads). This is a very good thing because seeds are true allies to our health and well-being. If we want to have a quality sleep, we should not hesitate to eat squash seeds at dinner. In fact, they are very rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that allows our body to synthesize melatonin which we will talk about a little later.


Especially known for their iron content, they contain magnesium, they are rich in chlorophyll calcium, vitamin b9 and folic acid which promotes muscle relaxation. It is also a food that contains ovitamin C and it has a positive effect on the body by lowering the level of cortisol (stress hormone) and creating a soothing effect that promotes recovery sleep.

What is happening to our bodies?

In order to have a good quality of sleep, our body must produce melatonin, also called the sleep hormone. This is where a number of players come in. Because our brains secrete melatonin we need serotonin to help us regulate our mood and prepare us for sleep.

But in order for this hormone to be synthesized, we need to ingest tryptophan. It is an amino acid that the body does make on its own, so we must get it from our diet. For example, choose a meal that is rich in sugars and low in protein, which will increase the concentration of tryptophan in the body and facilitate its passage through the brain, thus promoting the production of serotonin and melatonin.

In addition, it should be known that during the day, our stomach secretes a hormone called ghrelin. It is located in our stomach and stimulates appetite. During our sleep cycle, it gives way to another hormone: leptin. Leptin takes over for this long period without food intake, making our hunger disappear and increasing energy expenditure.

So, when we decrease our sleep time, the secretion of the hormone inducing satiety (leptin) decreases and there is an increase in hunger (ghrelin). So naturally, we will want to eat more when we do not sleep enough.

Our last piece of advice

You can also read our top 5 habits to adopt for a quality sleep and to increase your odds at a successful nap.

One last recommendation : avoid nibbling between meals ! This will disturb your body, and as you will see, your sleep as well.


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