Sleep apnea is a common disorder that impacts the quality of sleep and overall lives of millions of Americans. If you’re affected by this condition, you’re probably all too familiar with the common symptoms it causes, including frequent interruptions during the night, and daytime sleepiness. Hopefully, you’re treating your sleep apnea with the help of an oral appliance or CPAP machine, but did you know that your diet can also influence your night’s rest? Read on to learn some of the worst foods you can eat if you have sleep apnea as well as some sleep-friendly alternatives.
Foods that are Foes
Some foods are enemies when it comes to your sleep. Avoid these foods to improve your nights (and days):
- Bananas: While most fruits are good for your body, and helpful with sleep apnea symptoms, bananas are an item you should avoid. They increase your mucus production, which can make it more difficult to breathe during sleep. Plus, the softer or more overly-ripe they are, the more likely they will interfere with your breathing.
- High-fat meats: Obesity is both a risk factor and a symptom of sleep apnea, so anything you can do to cut down on fat in your diet will also promote better sleep. That said, limiting your intake of beef and pork can be an easy way to decrease the fat you eat.
- Caffeine: It may seem obvious, but caffeine will keep you up at night. Of course, you can still enjoy your morning cup of coffee, however set a hard limit on your caffeine after 2pm to avoid restlessness when you need to sleep.
Instead of eating a diet that will only hinder your ability to enjoy restful nights, you can choose foods that actually promote sleep, including:
- Fruits and veggies: Besides bananas, most fruits and vegetables are great for sleep. Rich in fiber, they keep you fuller for longer, while helping you avoid overeating fatty foods.
- Tart cherry juice: It may seem weird, but tart cherry juice is an x-factor when it comes to your sleep. Tart cherries are the best source for the hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle. Research shows that drinking 16oz of tart cherry juice at least two times a week could increase your quality of sleep.
- Whole grains: Similar to fruits and veggies, whole grains are full of fiber, keeping you away from unhealthy snacks and meals. A good way to work whole grains into your diet is to substitute your normal bread and cereal for healthier options.
A great night’s rest is easier to achieve if you practice the right diet. Remember these recommendations to help you stay healthy and rested.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Brian Zulawinski has been practicing dentistry for over two decades, and he has taken hundreds of continuing education courses focused on sleep apnea. He takes pride in helping his patients improve their sleep and their lives with his custom-made oral appliances. To schedule an appointment, he can be reached through his website or by phone at (847) 253-7477.