Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee

Radio Show for December 4

Posted on 4 Dec 2011 - 8:19 AM by Dr. Brian Wind

This week on The Sleep Doctors radio show we’re going to talk about the impact of diet on your sleep.  Many people might not necessarily think that what they eat would have a significant influence on how they sleep.  The fact is that our bodies are comprised of many different systems and these systems either directly or indirectly affect each other.  How?  Read on and listen to the show!

Sleep in the News

Holiday stress can impact your sleep during the holidays.  We’ll start with an article from that discusses sleep problems that Americans are expecting this holiday season.

More Sleep On Many Americans’ Holiday Wish List

We’ll discuss some great things you can do to stave off these problems.  One is having good sleep hygiene like watching what we eat, and also when we eat. What is it about certain types of foods, or about eating at certain times, that can negatively impact our sleep? We’ll discuss this report from NBC’s TodayHealth:

Can’t sleep? Change your diet

Like with many things related to sleep, the relationship between diet and sleep is a two way street. We’ll discuss how what we eat certainly impacts our sleep, but how it is also true that how we sleep impacts our diet. It has been well documented in the sleep research literature that people who do not sleep well crave different types of foods (typically bad foods) than people who do not have sleep problems.  We’ll discuss this quote from the National Sleep Foundation.

Food is also related to sleep by appetite and metabolism. Research by Dr. Van Cauter shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase. This link between appetite and sleep provides further evidence that sleep and obesity are linked. To top it off, the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are similar. Thus, when you’re feeling sleepy you might feel like you need to head for the fridge instead of bed.—National Sleep Foundation

What this is saying is that folks who don’t sleep well or enough often head to the fridge for the high fat, high calorie foods. This includes sweets. This is seen frequently for those who perform shift work but also those with other sleep issues like Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Listener Email Questions

If we get time on the show today, The Sleep Doctors will respond so some listener questions.  The first question is actually a posting from our Facebook page from listener Teena.

I sleep but it’s very irregular, one night 6 hrs, another 12 or 8, is this bad for you?

We’ll discuss the following answer in more detail on the show:  For optimal daytime functioning and health, it is best get a regular and sufficient amount of sleep on a night to night basis. Our sleep wake cycle is controlled by our circadian clock - an internal clock that dictates our sleep-wake cycle. This clock is looking for regularity when it comes to our sleep schedule. Specifically, humans need to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time from day to day, seven days a week. Moving the bedtime or wake time around by even a small amount can confuse this internal clock, and suddenly it no longer works efficiently to control our sleep-wake patterns. Some people are more sensitive to these issues than others, and there are a few things that impact this clock - one is light, another is hormone called melatonin. But the big influencing factor for most of us is behavior - our poor sleep habits with regard to maintaining a regular sleep schedule (in addition to other behavioral problems, such as caffeine use, poor diet, lack of exercise, others) negatively impact our circadian rhythms and suddenly we find ourselves having trouble sleeping. This problem is usually fixed with the use of melatonin, light therapy, and a behavioral regimen, and this type of treatment program should be managed by a sleep doctor.

We’ll also discuss this question received via email from listener Lucas.

I am trying to figure out what is causing my snoring problem. I visited an ENT doctor a few weeks ago and he checked my sinuses and said they look fine. He commented that my tonsils were large and could be contributing to my snoring. He said my sinuses looked fine. I am only 24 years old and not overweight. I am looking at getting my tonsils removed at the end of December in efforts to both get rid of my snoring and to be able to breath better. What are your recommendations?

The Sleep Doctors will also have a fun trivia question for the holidays! Tune in and call in this week!  The Sleep Doctors want to hear from you and your questions are always welcome!