Nurturing life Your reference in perinatal nutrition, from pregnancy to childhood

Can diet affect quality of sleep?

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By : Nurturing Life's Nutrition Team | Montreal Diet Dispensary
— Updated on :
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Yes, in part. Avoiding stimulating drinks and foods, staying well hydrated and maintaining a quality diet can help pregnant women sleep better.

AVOID STIMULANTS

Stimulants of any kind should be avoided, especially in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can contribute to late sleep. It is found in dark sodas, coffee (hot or iced) tea (hot or iced) and energy drinks.

Some people are also sensitive to other stimulants, such as chocolate or sugary foods. Cigarettes also contain a stimulating agent, nicotine, which can affect the quality of sleep.

AVOID VERY GREASY, SPICY OR ACIDIC FOODS

If the mother is having difficulty sleeping because she has heartburn or gastric reflux, she should have low-fat dinners. Indeed, a large amount of fat can slow down digestion. For example, fried food, fat (oil, margarine, butter), as well as foods that are high in fat (vinaigrette, avocado, cream cheese, walnuts, coconut milk, etc.) should be minimized or avoided in the evening. Meals should not be too spicy or too acidic either, because these foods can increase gastric reflux (orange juice and other citrus fruits, tomatoes, hot peppers, etc.).

EAT A FULL MEAL AT DINNER

A full meal at dinnertime and a nutritious snack before bedtime is important. By being full, mom is less likely to be surprised by hunger during the night.

DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUID DURING THE DAY AND SLOW DOWN IN THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING

Liquids should be taken in large quantities early in the day and reduced in the evening to help reduce the number of visits to the toilet during the night, while maintaining proper hydration.

References

  • Santiago J.R., Nolledo, M.S., Kinzler, W. et Santiago, T.V. (2001). Sleep and sleep disorders in pregnancy. Annals of Internal Medicine 134(5): 396-408.

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The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.