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Insomnia and a general lack of sufficient sleep is a problem for millions of Americans, and the statistics say that it’s only getting worse by the year. What most people with insomnia don’t realize is that the foods they are eating might have a lot to do with their lack of sleep. The average American diet is high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, and this is a big part of the problem. For a better night’s sleep, you might want to consider limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates and sugar.

Avoiding High Glycemic Foods

The human body uses simple sugars (glucose) for quick bursts of energy. You can feel this energy burst almost immediately after eating sweet, sugary foods. Simple or refined carbohydrates that come from foods like white bread, French fries, donuts, and most breakfast cereals are turned into glucose for energy as well. Eating these foods means that, when you eat high-sugar foods as well as refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will skyrocket.

These are known as high glycemic foods, and they can interfere with the quality of sleep if people are not careful about how much of them they consume. When people eat these foods regularly, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which falls again after some time. With these foods eaten close to bedtime, it means blood sugar levels will spike and then fall during the night. This instability causes the body to release stress hormones intertwined with the nervous system’s “fight or flight” response to dangerous situations. The “fight or flight” response can wake people up and keep them up for hours. 

Foods That Support a Good Night’s Sleep

When you get complex carbohydrates from whole grains and high-fiber foods, the opposite is true. Instead of regular potatoes, try sweet potatoes and yams instead. You can make healthy versions of French fries and mashed potatoes out of these, and you can still eat them with your favorite sides. 

For breakfast, eat steel-cut or rolled oatmeal instead of boxed cereals that are high in sugar and refined carbs. Every kind of legume has a low glycemic index (GI), and these include lentils, peas, butter beans, and green beans. There are plenty of low GI foods to choose from, and your sleep will improve once you get used to eating them regularly.