“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.” Dr Rafael Pelayo
“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.” These words were spoken by Prince Hamlet as he contemplated suicide and death. I’m not contemplating either of those things, but I would love to be able to sleep each night and feel refreshed when I wake up.
There is a link, so the health bods say, between sleep deprivation and weight gain. I don’t know whether it’s because of the fact that you’re awake for more hours and therefore prone to straying into the biscuit tin, or if there’s other reasons why. If you Google ‘sleep deprivation and weight gain’ a whole raft of links turns up, some realistic and factual, others more silly and unbelievable.
I have to say, though, that I do believe this to be true. I’ve found, weirdly, on nights when I have had a decent night’s sleep – and by decent, I mean actually sleeping from the time I drift off to sleep to the time I wake up, without having to get up to go to the loo several times in the night – I actually weigh less. It might only be a pound but if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, very often I’ve put on a pound, sometimes two.
It might be worth keeping a food/sleep diary for a week or so. You can add to this how you’re feeling on the day as well as our moods often affect what we eat during the day, and also, what we eat can affect how we sleep. I’ve found, for example, that if I eat strawberries too late in the evening, that I have stomach problems and that keeps me awake. Strawberries – and most other berries, although I’ve only experienced it with strawbs – ferment in the gut, and the churning feeling that goes on can cause a lot of discomfort. If you’re going to eat berries, either have them at lunch time or as a mid-afternoon snack and just have a yoghurt after your evening meal.
Having kept the diary for a week or two, look back over it and see if your mood affected what you ate, and if that in turn affected how you slept. If you’re not an emotional eater, it could be your choice of foods at certain times of the day that play havoc with your sleeping patterns. There is the food combination diet which suggests you shouldn’t eat proteins and starchy foods at the same time. Starchy foods include, rice, wheat, even potatoes. It suggests having non-starchy vegetables with ocean vegetables for a healthier option.
I’ve never tried this diet so can’t say if it really works. I’m sure there are people out there that would swear by it and you can always give it a go for a week or two and see if your sleeping patterns are improved.
Dieting is all about trial and error. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another and it pays to not give up after a day because that’s not long enough to see if it would work.
Sleeping, however, is important to your well-being and how you’re able to function the next day. I know if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a few days in a row I always feel sluggish and unwell. That, in itself, can be a potential for disaster right there: because when you’re not feeling well, or if you’re feeling tired, the temptation to eat ‘naughty’ things goes up another couple of notches.
Believe or not, going out for a brisk walk, out in the fresh air (with or without the pretend dog at the end of a pretend lead) is often all that’s needed to give you that much needed boost. And you never know, that little bit of exercise might help you to sleep better.