Many students give up sleep to meet the demands of a busy schedule. The overall effect negatively impacts productivity. Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you wake up frequently throughout the night? What stands between you and the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night? Could it be your nutrition?
Eating before bed can affect how well you sleep during the night (1). Heavy, high-fat foods may cause bloating and stomach pain that can keep you from a restful sleep. Spicy foods may cause heartburn or indigestion which can keep you up at night. However, going to sleep on an empty stomach can also cause a sleepless night. If you’re hungry, try a light snack, like a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, about an hour before going to bed (2).
In addition to decreased energy and productivity, current research links inadequate sleep with weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Although exact causes are unclear, one theory for weight gain is that inadequate sleep disrupts hormone levels that regulate appetite and food intake (3). This means that a lack of sleep may cause you to eat.
Are you interested in learning more about sleep or nutrition? Health Promotion and Wellness offers free one-on-one wellness services to students. Topics include stress and time management, sleep, physical activity, nutrition, healthy relationships and sexual health. HealthWorks peer educators provide the services. These services are FREE and are in the Wellness Suite, 020 IM Building. To schedule an appointment, call 814-863-0461.