poor diet affects sleep

How Does a Poor Diet Affect Sleep? 7 Ways, Backed By Science

Blame poor sleep on these (and fix it, too)

Sleep and diet are something that goes hand in hand. A poor diet can lead to disturbed sleep, and poor sleeping habits can affect your dietary habits. We’ll look into how a poor diet affects sleep. 

But first, let’s talk about a poor diet first to develop an understanding of what kind of diet can affect sleep.

What is a poor diet?

A diet that fails to provide enough nutrients to your body for maximum health is called an unhealthy or poor diet.

If you’re consuming too many calories, then it would affect your health, and you’ll be at the risk of becoming more prone to illness. 


Consuming too many fats and eating fewer vegetables and fruits are the signs of a poor diet. A kind of diet that has too many calories, high fats, and too much sugar is a poor diet.

Now that we know what a poor diet looks like, let’s dive in to discuss how it affects sleep

1. Poor diet can lead to depression which causes sleep disturbances

A poor diet that contains high fats and calories disturbs mental health. If someone is a bad eater or regularly consumes a poor diet like junk food, he’s more prone to get mental health issues. 

Other researchers have found that consuming too much sugar can impact our mental health.

Studies also show that people are likely to experience some common mental health issues like depression and anxiety because of poor diet. 

A person suffering from depression and anxiety can have trouble sleeping at night and eventually leads to insomnia. That’s why a depressed person always looks restless.

Also, 95 percent of serotonin is produced in your digestive system. Serotonin helps to regulate your mood and behavior.

Eating a poor diet will disrupt serotonin production, and you can become depressed and sad quickly.

Related: 5 Surprising Ways Food Affects Mood (Backed by Science)

2. Poor diet isn’t easily digestible by your stomach, so it disturbs the sleep

If you’re eating a poor diet close to your sleeping time, you’ll find it difficult to sleep. For example, a poor diet that contains high fats is not easily digestible. 

Your stomach will try to digest the food, but it would turn into indigestion. When you have indigestion, your body can’t relax, and you’ll experience a disruption in your sleep.

3. Consuming poor diet disrupt your energy levels

Poor diet doesn’t only disrupt your sleep itself but also compels your body to some needs that affect your sleep.

Take for example sugar. Consuming too much sugar is a sign of a poor diet. 

Sugar quickly elevates your energy levels and also quickly drops our energy levels.


This results in lower energy levels, and you can also experience irregularities in your sleeping pattern because of constantly changing energy levels.

study confirmed the effects of consuming too much sugar and saturated fats on the sleeping habits of adults.  

4. Poor diet disturb our circadian clock

Our bodily functions follow a schedule called the circadian rhythm.

The functions, include sleeping, waking, eating when we feel hungry, and metabolism. 

The circadian rhythm keeps our body in a schedule, and any discrepancy can result in altering the whole schedule. 

If our body experiences a drastic change in the body and irregularities in our food and poor diet consumption, it affects the circadian clock.

Eventually, the effects are felt by the whole body, but the circadian clock particularly affects the sleep.

5. Saturated fats and are linked with sleep disturbance

In one study, researchers at Columbia University investigated how fiber and saturated fat impact sleep arousals and slow-wave sleep.

The researchers found that poor diet results in more sleep arousals and slow sleep waves. A poor diet containing saturated fats and fiber disturb sleeping patterns. 

But that’s not all. The study showed that people who consumed more fibers and saturated fats started showing sleeping difficulties.

They experienced more arousals during sleep and less restorative sleep in comparison with what they were experiencing with a controlled diet. 

A poor diet affects sleep by giving you more arousals during sleep and slow sleep wave.

6. Poor diet results in health issues that affect sleep

It is no secret that poor diet leads to nutritional deficiencies, and consuming too much poor diet causes obesity and heart diseases. 


These diseases result in a metabolism disorder and weaken the digestive system. A poor diet taken around the sleep time results in indigestion. 

Indigestion of food keeps you awake by creating uncomfortable sensations in your body. It may even lead to chronic snoring.

If you keep sticking to a poor diet, soon you’ll start experiencing insomnia because of other health issues developing in your body.

7. Excess refined carbohydrates cause insomnia

Refined carbohydrates are included in the poor or unhealthy diet plan. Consuming a poor diet containing refined carbohydrates like sugar and soda increases the blood sugar level. 

study shows that when your body experiences a quick increase in sugar level, insulin is released from the body as a result of natural reaction. This results in lowering the blood sugar level. 

During this process, hormones are released that interrupt your sleeping pattern and cause a hindrance in restorative sleep.

The lack of restorative sleep is also linked to parasomnias like sleep paralysis.

It is important to restrict the use of too many refined carbohydrates because a poor diet affects sleep.

Tips to improve your diet

There are multiple approached to improve your diet. From following a specific dietary pattern to limiting the consumption of unhealthy food, you can improve your diet in many ways. 


It is important to maintain a healthy diet because a poor diet affects sleep.

Follow an eating pattern. First of all, you need to follow an eating pattern. There should be an adequate time difference between your meals.

Try to get up early in the morning and do some exercise or workout. It helps to alleviate your hunger, and you can take a king-like breakfast.

Eat a healthy breakfast, and then also take your lunch at a specific time each day. The same goes for dinner. Try to eat your last meal 2-3 hours before your sleeping time.

Limit the consumption of caffeine. Try to drink green tea rather than coffee. Also, avoid soda and carbonated drinks.

Stay away from consuming too many fats and calories. Avoid junk food to a great extent. Heavy and spicy food is one of the poor diets that are very harmful. 

Consult your nutritionist or doctor and prepare a healthy diet plan for you that is balanced in every aspect. Stick to the diet plan to improve your diet.