sleep apnea

Nutrition and Sleep - If you aren't sleeping, you're at risk for more than just being tired.

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If you have problems sleeping you are not alone. It is estimated that 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleeping problems.


Getting enough sleep is crucial to good health, and nutrition can influence sleep. There are diet, food and nutrient strategies that can be used to help you sleep better. 

Problems associated with lack of sleep:



There are a variety of reasons for sleeping problems and this is where we start looking to identify why you might have these issues in the first place. We start with things we eat or take that can keep us awake:


  • Alcohol

  • Nicotine

  • Caffeine

  • Decongestants like Sudafed

  • Diet pills

  • Ritalin or other stimulants

  • Herbs: Ginkgo biloba, Guarana, Siberian ginseng, Ephedra, Ma huang, Bitter orange, Kola nut

  • Medications: Beta blockers, Albuterol, SSRIs (antidepressants), Prednisone and other steroids


We want to avoid the things we can that may be contributing to sleeping problems like drinking alcohol and caffeine, smoking and use of elicit drugs. If you are on prescription medications that you feel are causing problems for you talk to your doctor before changing any prescribed medicine regimen.

Often sleeping problems are a symptom of another medical problem, and by addressing that underlying problem, we can improve sleep.

There are all sorts of conditions can interfere with sleep:


  • Anxiety

    • Diet, sleep affect each other. Anxiety makes getting restful sleep challenging and difficulty sleeping can cause anxiety. Reducing levels of anxiety is important, and meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are examples of interventions my clients find helpful in reducing their anxiety levels.

  • Depression

  • Pain

    • Pain from any number of conditions can lead to poor sleep. Arthritis, headaches, reflux, and fibromyalgia, anything that causes pain can make it hard to fall asleep, and hard to stay asleep. Pain gets worse with lack of sleep. Addressing the underlying cause of pain can help improve sleep quality.

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)

    • Reflux symptoms reduce quantity and quality of sleep.

    • Eating too much and eating too close to bedtime can cause GERD. Ideally, you should wait 4 hours between eating and going to bed.

    • There is a wide range of other reasons for GERD, so this is also something we explore when reflux is present, and GERD has many other problems associated with it aside from sleeping disturbances.

  • Menopause

    • Insomnia is considered a symptom of menopause. There are nutritional interventions that can help. Many are herbals. Keep in mind with herbal medicine that many pharmaceutical drugs are created based on the action of herbal medicines. Because of this, herbals can cause side effects and drug interactions just like pharmaceutical drugs can. The message here is don’t self medicate with herbals (for insomnia or any other reason). Talk to a professional to see what’s right for you.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

    • This is disordered breathing during sleep. People that have sleep apnea have a greater risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, stroke, asthma, some cancers, cognitive and behavioral disorders in children and adults, and car accidents.

    • Common symptoms include snoring or gasping during sleep, and feeling fatigued during the day.

    • Many people that suffer from sleep apnea live in larger bodies, so nutrition plays a big role. Appropriately nourishing your body to reach a healthy weight is a primary intervention for sleep apnea, and often helps resolve the issue.

  • Sleep disordered breathing (general)

    • There are numerous other reasons that someone may be experiencing sleep disordered breathing, and The Breathe Institute in Los Angeles, CA specializes in addressing all causes of sleep disordered breathing using a multidisciplinary approach.

  • Desynchronosis

  • Stress

    • Stress is an unavoidable factor in our lives, and more stress leads to higher levels of cortisol. Cortisol stimulates insulin release, and over time, this can lead to diabetes. Managing cortisol levels by working on reducing stress is important for sleep and for overall health.


How we address the issue(s):


  • From a nutritional standpoint, we look at diet first of course to identify dietary triggers for the problem.

  • We also look for underlying conditions that are preventing adequate sleep, like sleep apnea, and reflux.

  • We can look to food as medicine to address any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to the issue. For example, food is a source of neurotransmitter precursors, where your neurotransmitter balance regulates your sleep, and mood in general.

  • Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals can also disrupt sleep, so we can address these deficiencies by choosing foods containing the nutrients and supplement where necessary.


-->>Click here to watch and listen to my presentation on sleeping problems<<--

If you have problems sleeping, it is worthwhile to check out why. Contact me today and we can explore diet, food, nutrients and lifestyle interventions to help bring you relief and a good night’s sleep!


"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition." -Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist

Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved.