What you eat on a daily basis strongly influences many brain functions. This includes the production of your sleep chemicals and hormones, the regulation of glial cells, and overall nervous system health. In fact, one of the key ways to support a healthy sleep-wake cycle is through the consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods.
In addition to knowing what to eat, we must also consider when we eat. The timing of your meals also plays a prominent role in circadian rhythm regulation. Some people find they sleep best when they stop eating two to three hours before bed. Others find a small snack just before bed helps them fall asleep faster.
These differences stem mainly from individual variances in blood glucose regulation and certain metabolic hormones (such as leptin, ghrelin, and insulin). Those with less-than-ideal blood sugar regulation may find they wake during the night feeling abnormally hungry, jittery, or light-headed. If you're one of these people, you may benefit from a light evening snack 30 minutes before bed. We suggest you also focus on reducing the sugar content of your diet and increasing your intake of healthy fats. This will provide your body with a slow-burning fuel source and stabilize blood glucose levels throughout the night.
If you do not experience hunger-related sleep disturbances, we suggest you finish eating two to three hours before bed. From a circadian rhythm standpoint, this is a more ideal approach. By allowing time for digestion, your body can focus on other essential tasks such as hormonal regulation, cellular repair, and other restorative processes during the night.