Proper nutrition, sleep go hand in hand

Daniel Lim

With the hustle and bustle of daily life, prioritising both sleep and nutrition can be a challenge.

On finding the right balance in such a hectic modern life, Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York, Preety Tyagi shared some advice with regards to sleep and nutrition, and how it can significantly impact one’s health.

“Most people need eight hours of good-quality sleep to function properly, but some need more and some less,” she said. If one wakes up tired, it is likely that they are not getting enough sleep.

“An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won’t harm your health,” she said. “After several sleepless nights, our mental health starts to deteriorate. Mind fog is one of the biggest downsides of irregular sleeping patterns.

“It can give an individual a hard time to concentrate and affect his or her decision-making capabilities. It will cause people to feel down, and they may even fall asleep accidentally during the day.

“This could lead to the risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road.”

Being deprived of sleep can affect your health and cause serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“On the other hand, having enough sleep can help boost immunity, improve mental health, prevents diabetes and health disorders, and improve fertility,” she said.

Preety said treatment and medication is must for sleep disorder. Improving sleeping habits can also help.

“If this doesn’t work, your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, medications or both, to help improve relaxation and sleep.”

Changing some aspect of our diet can also help maintain a good mental health for better sleeping pattern. She said that nutritious food such as brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, bananas, fish, vitamin D, eggs, turmeric, chamomile and yogurt can help release stress and improve overall health.

“If people don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – getting more sleep. It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so it may take some time to recovery.”

She said that the routine of going to bed when you’re tired and allowing your body to wake you in the morning can have a lasting benefit in the long run.

“After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease. Avoid caffeine or energy drinks completely in your diet so you will be able to fall asleep faster. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your sleep patterns in the long term.”