Food and Sleep: The Importance of A Balanced Diet

UntitledEating a balanced diet not only affects the way your body looks physically, it can also affect your quality of sleep. According to Dr. Sonia Smith, owner and practitioner at Emerald Coast Pediatric Sleep Consultants, LLC., what you eat during the day impacts how well you sleep at night.


“A balanced diet, consisting of three meals a day plus snacks, helps to optimize growth and development during sleep,” Dr. Smith said. “Foods that are high in fiber and protein make the stomach feel full so that you are less likely to wake up hungry during the night.”


To help improve your child’s quality of sleep, try incorporating foods such as seeds, nuts, soy beans, cheese, milk, lamb, beef, pork, turkey chicken and fish. These foods are high in tryptophan, which can positively affect your quality of sleep as it converts to melatonin, the sleep hormone.


Try to avoid foods with hidden sources of caffeine such as sodas, chocolate, many flavors of ice cream, energy waters, iced tea and some pain relievers, as they can keep your child up at night. “Foods that are high in carbohydrates may satisfy your child for a short time, but will convert to sugar rather quickly,” Dr. Smith said. “This raises then lowers their blood sugar, which may leave your child hungry in the middle of the night.

Children and families can learn more about nutrition for children here.