Improving Sleep Through An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
When we think of improving our sleep, the first thing that comes to mind is investing in a comfortable mattress and pillow, setting the right temperature, and minimizing noise and light. However, a new study suggests that our diet could be another factor we should consider.
A recent study by the University of South Carolina, published in the journal Nutrients, has found that an inflammatory diet can disrupt our sleep quality. Those who consume more inflammatory foods tend to sleep worse than those who eat less of them. The study has analyzed three different groups, including police officers, pregnant women, and men in general, and found that moving towards a more anti-inflammatory diet can improve our sleep quality.
While an anti-inflammatory diet may not necessarily increase the amount of time we sleep, it can significantly improve the quality of our sleep. Anti-inflammatory foods such as green, leafy vegetables, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, brightly colored fruits like strawberries and blueberries, and nuts like walnuts and almonds, have been found to promote sleep efficiency by inhibiting the natural rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle. This natural rhythm is disturbed when our diet contains high levels of inflammatory markers like interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor.
If you are looking to improve your sleep quality through your diet, it is best to start by adding a couple of anti-inflammatory foods to your diet regularly. You don’t need to make drastic changes to your existing diet, and small steps can go a long way. Adding spices, herbs, onions, or garlic to your dishes can also have a positive impact, as they are some of the most anti-inflammatory foods on this planet.
If you find yourself sleeping better and want to take it up a notch, it is recommended to cut down on animal protein and avoid processed foods. Shopping on the outside of the store, where you can find fresh fruits, veggies, protein, and dairy, and avoiding processed foods chock full of unhealthy preservatives and additives, can also help in promoting an anti-inflammatory diet.
If shopping on the outside of the store seems daunting, begin by tackling snacks first, as they are typically the main source of processed foods in a diet. Inflammatory snacks that you should avoid include chips, cookies, crackers, pastries, cereal, snack cakes, sodas, and sweetened drinks.
Eliminating even one or two inflammatory foods from your diet can significantly impact your body’s natural circadian rhythm, promoting not only better sleep quality but benefits both short- and long-term. After only a handful of nights of better sleep, you will notice changes in alertness during the day and physical endurance, feeling less tired and better able to think on your feet. Long-term benefits include reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
Improving your diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods can have a positive impact on your overall health, including your sleep quality. Small steps can make a large difference, and with time, you will begin to notice and feel the positive impact of a healthier diet.#inflammatory #diet #hurting #sleep