Trouble Sleeping? Could Be What You’re Eating.
Anxiety and insomnia are closely related disorders, and it makes sense that if you are anxious and worried, it can be difficult to sleep. Also, a lack of sleep can increase feelings of anxiety and irritability. However, food can play an important role in this tail-chasing pattern as well, and addressing the dietary issues may help reduce the co-occurring problem of anxiety and insomnia. Certain substances and eating patterns are often used by anxiety sufferers to help manage some of the symptoms of anxiety. And these same substances and eating patterns can lead to insomnia.
If you’re anxious and having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, consider these factors below to see if one or more could be keeping you awake:
- Alcohol: A sedative that can cause you to fall asleep at first, but it can disrupt your sleep through the night. Many individuals suffering with anxiety use alcohol to help numb their feelings, but this practice can cause a host of problems including disrupted sleep patterns.
- Caffeine: A stimulant that can help keep you alert during the day, and unfortunately, also at night when you’re trying to sleep. Moderate intake of caffeine is usually harmless in most people, but excessive amounts can be harmful from causing cardiovascular issues to insomnia. Anxiety sufferers may be prone to overindulging in caffeine as they believe it helps them stay focused through anxiety attacks, but it also can lead to health risks, including sleep disorders such as insomnia. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so it is best to avoid caffeine if you’re having trouble sleeping.
- Nicotine: A stimulant that can cause insomnia. If you smoke, stop. If you’re going to smoke anyway, understand that smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep and sleep through the night. However, this may be one of the least dangerous symptoms of smoking, so it is recommended that you stop smoking completely and try a smoking cessation program.
- Heavy meals close to bedtime: Heavy meals can disrupt your sleep and can result in other health issues such as indigestion and acid reflux. It is best to eat lightly before bedtime. Eating too much at night can cause discomfort such as bloating and gas, and it can make it difficult for your body to relax. Also, spicy and fried foods can lead to heartburn, interrupting sleep. Sugary and salty foods can lead to feelings of thirst, causing you to get up for water at night, interrupting sleep.
When all else fails, there are numerous natural sleep remedies to help your chronic insomnia. But, if you are having anxiety, it would be a good idea to get that under control if you’re really going to solve your insomnia problem.