At least 50 million American adults suffer from a sleep disorder.
And because most people don't know very much about sleep hygiene, they don't know how to address the problem.
If you are tossing and turning all night, you may need to eat differently.
Here are some diet tips to help you sleep better and wake up refreshed:
1. Curb your caffeine intake.
You probably know drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening will make it nearly impossible to fall asleep.
However, most people don't realize that consuming too much caffeine during any time of the day can cause sleep problems as well.
A study from the National Sleep Foundation found that consuming three or more cups of coffee a day can cause insomnia.
Unfortunately, many people consume a lot of caffeine throughout the day to stay awake.
If you need to drink several cups of coffee to get through the day, you probably aren't getting the sleep you need, and you are only compounding the problem by binging on caffeine.
You are better off working out in the morning to get your boost of energy.
2. Avoid fatty foods before bed.
We all know eating too much sugar late at night is a terrible idea. However, cutting back on fatty foods is also a good way to improve sleep.
Fatty foods tend to take a longer time to digest, so they will keep your body up at night and keep you from getting a good night's sleep.
You should generally stop eating altogether at least three hours before going to sleep. If you do need a late night snack, eat nuts, a couple whole-grain crackers or other foods that are high in complex carbs.
Also, eating fatty foods can cause serious heartburn and indigestion, making it much more difficult to fall asleep.
3. Eat foods that bolster melatonin.
Melatonin is the substance that regulates our sleep cycles. Melatonin levels typically increase in the evening, which helps us fall asleep easier.
However, some people have lower levels of melatonin, which can make it very difficult for them to fall asleep without taking medication.
The good news is, there are number foods you can eat to increase your melatonin levels. Bananas, cherries and milk all contain melatonin.
Consuming them a couple of hours before bed may help you fall asleep better.
4. Reduce sugar consumption.
Eating sugar late at night is a bad idea, especially if you are suffering from chronic sleep problems. You should also be careful eating sugar during the day if you suffer from anxiety.
That's because consuming foods like cookies and candy can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which can trigger the release of the stress hormone adrenaline.
This can even make it more difficult for you to sleep later at night.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you may want to significantly cut back on your sugar intake. You may feel much more relaxed during the day and have an easier time sleeping later at night.