Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. That being said, sleep is only one aspect of healthy living, and it’s an aspect that isn’t totally unrelated to the others. We’ve spoken before about the relationship between what you eat and how you sleep. Both your diet and your ability to sleep well at night are part of the three pillars of wellness.
Sleep and Nutrition go Hand in Hand
When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested. You probably don’t need a scientific study to tell you this; you have realized it in your own life! When you’re “running on empty” you’re much more likely to choose a burger and fries for lunch over a side garden salad and cup of soup. The same burger also makes you much less likely to feel like working out or doing much of anything at all. When it comes time to go to bed, you have a belly ache and a body that isn’t as tired as it should be. Spicy and high-fat foods cause indigestion that makes it difficult to reach deep sleep. You’re more likely to stay up later than you should, ultimately getting less sleep. You’ll wake up tomorrow and start the tired, unhealthy food cycle all over again!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Clearly, what you eat and how you sleep are closely tied together. What about how much you eat and when? Our question today is, does fasting improve your sleep? Yes! This isn’t just our opinion; the reason is backed by science!
Before we get into how and why this happens, let’s first discuss what intermittent fasting is, as well as what it is not. It is defined as the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time. Fasting has become popular in recent years, but it is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions. There are many different forms of fasting, including going a day or even more without any sustenance. That isn’t what we’re talking about today. Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to more than half the day. Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from better brain function to improved sleep.
How does it Work?
Perhaps without realizing it, you actually fast every single night. You don’t eat when you’re asleep, of course. Your body knows this and interprets long periods of not eating or drinking with the time to settle down and go into rest mode. If you stop eating before sunset, you’re encouraging your body’s natural sleep pattern by Circadian Fasting.
When you go to bed with an empty stomach, the internal clocks in your digestive system align with the clock in your brain so that all your systems agree to “go offline” for your night of sleep ahead. This absolutely doesn’t mean starving yourself or even going to bed hungry. This kind of fasting can easily be accomplished simply by eating dinner early and avoiding snacks or drinks before bed. Doing so can unequivocally improve your sleep.
Remember, just because you are ready to head to bed doesn’t mean your entire body goes to sleep with you. If you eat a heavy or spicy meal late into the evening, your body is still working to digest it at bedtime. Heartburn is going to make it much more difficult to fall asleep! Keep in mind, many foods have hidden caffeine, including chocolate. Other foods, like cucumbers, have hidden water that make you need to get up out of bed to use the restroom. By stopping all eating and drinking several hours before bed, you’re making sure there’s nothing standing in the way of you and a deep night of rejuvenating sleep on your luxury mattress!
Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting great sleep on a high-quality premium mattress. A second aspect of staying healthy is what you eat, of course. The two are more interconnected than you may imagine! If you are focused on keeping your body functioning well and feeling great each morning, you want to learn about how food affects the way you sleep and for many, this includes considering the healthy benefits of intermittent fasting. When coupled with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, incorporating Circadian Fasting into your daily routine could benefit your long-term health. Your future self will thank you!