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Wednesday 27 December 2023

How what we eat can affect how we sleep

The foods we eat can play a major role in the way we feel over the holidays, says a leading sleep nutrition expert.

With processed food (47%) and takeaway (38%) sitting at the top of the ‘go-to’ foods Australians consume when feeling stressed, Olivia Arezzolo has warned of the ripple effect diet can have on sleep and overall health when good nutrition goes out the window during stressful or busy periods.

New data from the global nutrition and food tracking app MyFitnessPal reveals that one in six (60%) Australians admit to sleep being the number one aspect in their lives impacted by stress.

Attempting to get more sleep was also listed as the biggest priority (42%) for Australians during stressful times.

50% of Aussies admitted they turn to sugary or high-fat snacks during late night hours at least once a week.

This could have negative consequences for sleep as respondents who did this were also more likely to state their sleep quality had worsened over the past year (40% compared to 20% average).

“Sleep is intrinsically linked to the food we eat, so it’s not surprising to see that sleep is suffering the most during busy and stressful times, such as the holidays,” says sleep expert Arezzolo, who has a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), Certificate in Sleep Psychology and a Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine).
“While it’s unrealistic to expect that the majority of Australians will completely cut comforting foods off their diet, knowing which snacks to incorporate and eat more of, can make a significant difference in getting a good night's rest.”

She has shared her five top snacks to encourage blissful sleep: kiwi fruit, banana and strawberry smoothie, a can of tuna or fatty fish, a handful of almonds, and sour cherry juice.

So I guess peanuts and pinot noir do not make the grade.

MyFitnessPal’s recently launched ‘Sleep’ app integration has been created to help users more easily keep track of how their food choices impact their sleep - giving them insights into their ‘wellness trifecta’ in one place.

By presenting users with sleep cycle information using data from connected sleep devices (such as Apple Watch or FitBit), alongside their food diary, users can see how their nutritional choices are impacting their sleep and overall well being.

Alongside its new sleep integration, MyFitnessPal is offering members a free ‘Eat Right, Sleep Tight’ plan that aims to help users break the cycle of exhaustion with a five-day plan that addresses meal timing, hydration, and a bedtime routine for a restful, restorative night’s sleep.

To learn more visit

Note: I have not tried this app and am not advocating it. 

Image: Serafima Trushnikova, 

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