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Sleep & Diet: How eating well can help you sleep well

09/17/2013

WAYNESBORO, Pa. – It’s a weekday afternoon and you reach for your third – or is it fourth? – cup of coffee. You just have to make it through the next couple hours. What’s a few cups of coffee to keep you focused?

While the caffeine in coffee may give you an immediate pick-me-up, it may also disturb your sleep patterns, said Jennifer Davis and Sandy Mosley, managers of the Waynesboro Hospital Sleep Center.

“Some people may not feel the effects of caffeine until long after it’s consumed,” Davis said. “It’s not always apparent that what we’re eating or drinking is affecting our sleep, but it could be to blame for long nights of sleeplessness.”

Just as caffeine in coffee and sodas may have an effect on your body hours later, what you eat before bed could also be affecting your sleeping habits.

For instance, foods made up of grains and sugars will cause your blood sugar to rise making it difficult to sleep, Davis said. Then, later in the night when your blood sugar drops, you may wake up and feel as if you can’t go back to sleep.

Instead, a light snack – such as cereal and milk, peanut butter on toast, or cheese and crackers – will keep you full throughout the night without causing too much disruption to your sleeping patterns, she said.

Fruits and vegetables also provide the vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B, magnesium and potassium, which promote a more restful night, she said.

For more information about Summit Health’s Sleep Centers, visit www.SummitHealth.org/Sleep or call (717) 267-7162.

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Waynesboro Hospital, an affiliate of Summit Health, is a non-profit community hospital dedicated to building a healthier community through leading-edge medical technology, skilled physicians, and caring staff. For more information about Waynesboro Hospital, call (717) 765-4000 or visit www.SummitHealth.org

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