Does Your Sleep Diet Suck? Improve Your Bad Sleep Diet Starting Today

Did you know that your diet could be having a detrimental effect on your sleep? And it’s not just what you’re eating – it’s how and when you’re eating it, too. As a matter of fact, those last two factors are much more important than scientists and Sleep Experts used to believe. Below, we’ll get into the how and when of your diet that you need to change in order to get better sleep. We’ve talked previously about what goes into a good sleep diet – but if you don’t improve upon your bad sleep tight, you may still have issues with your sleep.

The What, the When, and the Why of a Poor Sleep Diet

If you’re having trouble getting good sleep, then you may be eating/drinking things that are contributing to the problem. You may not have to completely eliminate them from your dad and lifestyle if you consume them at the right times. However, you should still know about the dangers they pose if you really want to improve your nightly rest.

The What: Alcohol

The when: too close to or immediately before bedtime  

The why: Look, we get it. Whether it’s a recommended dose of powerful cold medicine or a good, stiff drink (if not several), it feels like it’s easier to get to sleep when you’ve got some alcohol in your system. It does a great job of knocking you out, especially if worries and anxieties keep you up at night. But over the long term, this is a terrible thing for many reasons.

Alcohol only knocks you out – not unlike some prescription sleeping pills. But it doesn’t keep you asleep all night. Most people who fall asleep while intoxicated sleep fewer hours and experience a more shallow sleep cycle than they would have had they gone to bed sober. On top of all that, most people report having more difficulty getting back to sleep. This makes sense, especially with excessive intoxication that can leave you feeling miserable and hungover when you wake. Lastly, the reason we sleep is to restore and regenerate our bodies after the damage of our day. but this doesn’t happen if you fall asleep and your body has to divert resources to metabolizing the alcohol in your bloodstream. This causes cumulative damage over time which not only disrupts your sleep, but causes harm to your overall health.

The What: Caffeine

The when: anytime during the afternoon or evening hours

The why: Caffeine is perfectly fine in moderation and when you restrict it to the morning hours only. But excessive caffeine intake and/or ingesting it at the wrong time of day can wreak havoc on your sleep. Caffeine can continue circulating in your bloodstream from anywhere to 6-8 hours after you drink it (or take a caffeine pill). It may take even longer for your body to process it if your metabolism is slower than average. This means that at bedtime when you should be relaxing, the caffeine is spiking your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels make you feel stressed out, anxious, and alert. The evening hours are the worst possible time for your cortisol levels to spike.

The What: Spicy Food

The when: late at night

The why: Because it can cause you pain and other unpleasant symptoms of indigestion. Falling asleep is difficult for many of us for non-physical reasons. But experiencing acute pain on top of that? Say hello to tossing and turning all night! Worst of all, spicy foods can aggravate your stomach lining and even relax the stomach valve that keeps your food from rolling back up into your esophagus. This can cause heartburn or force you to sleep in an uncomfortable inclined position, make it harder for you to fall asleep.

The What: Processed Food

The when: 24/7

The why: Your body needs specific micronutrients, amino acids, and minerals in order to produce happy, relaxing neurotransmitters in your brain. When you don’t get enough of these nutrients, you suffer from things like serotonin imbalances, poor melatonin production, and hormone dysregulation. This will completely throw your circadian rhythm out of whack and throw a wrench in your daily sleep cycle.

We know we probably sound like a broken record by recommending that you eat more fruits and vegetables, but it really does work. Fresh produce gives you things like B vitamins, magnesium, and certain types of whole food fatty acids which are essential for producing sleep hormones at night. The more processed food you eat – anything that typically comes out of a can, a box, or the freezer section of your supermarket – the more excess sodium, processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats you end up digesting. Not only are these foods scarce in nutrients, but there are notorious for causing the type of hormone dysregulation which makes you gain weight, feel depressed, and promotes sleep deprivation.

The Upside Down Food Pyramid (and How it Affects Your Sleep)

Take a look at the eating schedule most people typically follow on the standard american diet: a small or non-existent breakfast in the morning, intermittent snacks between late morning and early evening when they should be eating lunch, and a large, calorie-dense meal sometimes within an hour or two of going to sleep. As it turns out, this is the exact opposite way we should be eating. Our bodies evolved and adapted to a completely different eating schedule.

A healthier eating regimen looks like an upside-down pyramid. You start out by eating your largest, most calorie-dense meal soon after waking up. This is just like filling your tank with gas right before starting a long road trip. You load your body up on the fuel it needs to get through a day. Eating a moderate lunch in the middle of the day helps give you an extra boost if your energy levels start to drop. Finally, a small meal in the evening which is eaten (at most) two to three hours before bed can give you a little nutrition to help your body reset and restore itself while you rest. The fewer calories you ingest, the sooner your body will start fasting while you sleep, which triggers all sorts of great health benefits.

On top of everything, you should add a natural sleep aid to your daily sleeping and eating schedule. It helps enhance and improve the benefits you get from following a healthier sleep diet. It’s amazing what just a few simple lifestyle changes can do for improving your rest and overall health.

Start Following a Good Sleep Diet Today

Start Following a Good Sleep Diet Today

You may not have heard of the good sleep diet – but that’s because it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Yes, there is a type of diet you can and should be following if you want to get better sleep. But it’s not all about what’s on your plate. It’s a series of lifestyle choices you need to follow if you want to make quality sleep an important priority in your life.

First, Get Yourself on a Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the most important circles in the good sleep diet – even more important than your plate – is your clock. Your internal clock especially is very important when it comes to getting a healthy amount asleep when you need it. And if you want to sync your internal clock with your daily schedule, you need to stick to a regular sleeping schedule. Otherwise, you may leave yourself tossing and turning at night, failing to sleep at all, and always feeling tired the next day.

It’s not just the schedule where you rise with the sun and sleep in the evening, either – it’s the schedule around how your feed yourself which also plays an important role. The past few decades have shoved this idea down people’s throats that eating little to nothing in the morning and a big dinner in the evening is the healthy way to eat. This is SAD – the Standard American Diet – and it is exactly what the acronym implies. Take a look at the checklist below and make a mental note of which ones apply to you:

  • Do you eat a small breakfast each morning, if you eat one at all?
  • Do you skip lunch often, usually in favor of grazing on small snacks throughout the day?
  • Do you eat a large meal late in the day, sometimes within an hour or two of your bedtime?

Doing any or all of these things are likely causing problems with you getting enough sleep. But there are ways to change your habits in order to conform to a good sleep tight. Those, according to science, are:

  • Take your meals like an upside-down pyramid and eat most of your calories in the morning
  • Polarized eating can confuse your body, making it hard to sleep at night – so don’t skip lunch!
  • Swap your eating habits between your breakfast and your dinner – eat the fewest calories in the evening instead of at night
  • Do not eat a single crumb of food if you are 2 hours away from your bedtime or less
  • Nighttime snacks are only allowed if it is absolutely impossible for you to sleep on an empty stomach

We understand that nighttime discomfort can be a huge source of sleep distress. If you do need a late-night snack in order to calm your stomach, keep it very small and very simple. A glass of warm milk with a banana is a good example; it provides you with both the protein and the natural, complex carbs that you need to unlock the sleep hormones in your body.

If you sit down and think about it, this upside down pyramid strategy makes more sense than eating the other way around. You’ll get most of your calories in the morning when you need to fuel your body the most. You can ride those calories out during the day and taper off in the evening when you don’t need energy because you’re getting ready to sleep. This can also help you lose weight because if you burn through your daily calories earlier in the morning and afternoon, you won’t have very many calories to store as fat when you go to sleep in the evening.

A Good Sleep Diet Includes Good Sleep Hygiene

A good sleep diet, if you’re looking at the big picture, is a small but essential part of overall good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the name for the series of events you go through in order to perfect your bedtime routine. We plan on releasing a much more detailed post on sleep hygiene in the near future. But until then, start small with these tips:

  • The blue light from your electronics can sabotage your sleep because it stops your brain from producing melatonin – so turn off your electronics right before bed
  • Sleeping in a cooler room helps signal your body that it is time for bed; but we wouldn’t recommend anything below 68 degrees, or whatever you can afford on your energy bill
  • You can use certain things like blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out all the problematic ambient light; this light can also disturb your circadian rhythm at bedtime

We’d also like to add that manufactured sleeping drugs can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, too. Sure, they feel like they help. But they also make physical changes to your brain which causes many problems when she tried to stop using them. And even if you get off them successfully, the long-term damage will compromise your natural ability to get high quality sleep. so don’t do it! Go for a natural sleep aid instead.

The “Diet” Part of the Good Sleep Diet

Eating a diet that is also healthy for your sleep is actually fairly simple. It’s all about adding more healthy foods and cutting out the unhealthy ones from your meals. We’re sure we sound like a broken record when we say that you need to eat more whole foods from the produce section of the grocery store; but the reason everyone is repeating that sentiment over and over again is because it’s true! The more fresh, whole foods you eat, the more nutrients you will get. And the more nutrients you have circulating through your body, the easier it will be for your body to produce sleep hormones like melatonin when you need to get your rest.

When it comes to unhealthy foods, what should you cut out? Simple carbs, processed grains, and processed fats. Basically, anything that comes out of a box, a bag, or a can should be kept to a minimum. These foods are very light on nutrients, which interferes with your ability to produce sleep hormones. Furthermore, they’re abnormal molecular structure causes toxic build up in your system. This toxic buildup can eventually travel to your brain and make it difficult for you to feel sleepy when you should.

We hope you’ve gleaned a lot of valuable information on a good sleep diet from reading this article. Keep checking back for a follow-up about the bad sleep diet, and ways to avoid it.

If You’re Not Afraid of Off-label Prescription Sleeping Pills, Maybe You Should Be

Is your doctor thinking about prescribing you an off-label prescription sleep aid? Or do you already have a prescription filled? If the former scenario applies to you, then it’s not too late. If you’ve already had the script filled, you might want to call your pharmacist and ask if you can get your money back. In this article, will explain why.

Which Medications Do Doctors Prescribe Off-label for Sleep?

It’s okay if you don’t know off the top of your head which medications doctors usually prescribe off label for sleep. Heck, most people don’t know the names of medications that do get prescribed on-label for sleeping problems. But the fact that you’re on the internet right now searching for information is a good sign. It means you care about your health and your quality of sleep. It also means you understand the importance of a second opinion.

You should ask your doctor for as much information as possible about any and all medications you’re taking. You should ask for the name of it, you should ask about common side effects, and you should definitely ask whether or not it’s being prescribed on- or off-label for you. If your doctor tells you it’s an off-label prescription, be sure to follow up and ask him or her why they feel that’s the best option for you. It’s good to know all of this information to confirm that the medication isn’t being given to you irresponsibly.

After you get all of that information from your doctor, you can compare that to the information we have here for you in this article. Below is a brief summary of the top three off-label sleeping pills which doctors usually prescribe if their patient is having trouble sleeping. If you recognize any of these names, then you should pay especially close attention. Because you may learn about something your doctor hasn’t told you yet.


If you have a Mirtazapine prescription, you should be wary of the following side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Fast and significant weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • High triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • Dry mouth


For some people, This drug may go by its prescription name Remeron. But it also goes by other names depending on what country you live in. When this drug was originally invented it was used as an antidepressant. Unlike most antidepressants, however, it is not an SSRI. Most psychiatrist believe that mirtazapine is especially helpful for people with anxiety disorders. It is also typically prescribed on-label for nausea or for people who are vomiting so uncontrollably that they can’t keep food down. Doctors prescribe this medication to stimulate appetite in such cases. But since it is capable of inducing fatigue, it is a very popular off-label sleep aid.


For patients who are prescribed amitriptyline, the most common side effects they experience include:

  • Nightmares, or increased frequency of nightmares they were already having
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Decreased libido  
  • Impotence
  • Drop in blood pressure upon standing
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches  
  • Dizziness

Some can argue that amitriptyline is the most popular off-label prescription sleep aid. How did it become that? It’s a very good question. When drug companies originally started marketing the drug, they claimed it was most helpful for anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. It was also prescribed for other, less clinical mental health issues. It is perhaps one of the oldest antidepressant medications out there. There has been some reported success and patients using amitriptyline for ADHD, but there isn’t as much evidence for that disorder as others. And it’s even considered an off-label script when it comes to ADHD. Still other doctors will write a prescription for amitriptyline to patients with fibromyalgia, posturepedic neuralgia, and other forms of miscellaneous nerve pain.


We’re starting to notice a pattern here: all of these off-label prescription pills, trazodone included, are antidepressants. Also, just like the other antidepressants on this list, trazodone is known to help patients who suffer from anxiety disorders. And what keeps most people awake at night? If you guest anxiety, you get a gold star. It makes sense to an extent to prescribe antidepressants for sleep if a) they are also designated for anti-anxiety purposes, and b) they have side effects which include drowsiness.

But there’s something about trazodone – and the other antidepressants on this list – which raises red flags. Specifically, it’s the dosing instructions patients get. It’s especially bad with trazodone because when it’s used off-label for sleep, patients can choose to take anywhere from 1 to 3 pills before bed as needed. “As needed” means they don’t need to take it on a daily basis. And if you’ve ever had an antidepressant prescribed to you, this will sound very strange.

Most doctors and pharmacists insist that antidepressants must be taken at the same dose every single day in order to avoid serious adverse reactions. They also advise titrating up slowly until reaching the most effective dose, and titrating back down slowly if you need to get off the medication for any reason. So which is it: are doctors being unnecessarily cautious when instructing their patients had to take their antidepressant medication, or are they being negligent and reckless when they tell patients to take these off label sleeping pills willy-nilly, whenever they want? At the end of the day, the answer to that question lies between you and your doctor. And it’s up to you to make the best decision for your health and wellness.

As an extra precaution, be sure to watch for the following side effects if you do decide to take trazodone to help with your sleep problems:

  • An erection lasting longer than 4 hours (a dangerous condition called priapism)
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Hepatotoxicity of the liver
  • Worsening depression or thoughts of suicide
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Orthostatic hypertension

The One Natural Cure Which Doesn’t Require an Off-label Prescription

There’s one sure-fire natural cure for sleeplessness that we know of – and it’s called Avinol PM. Between melatonin, 5-HTP, lemon balm, hops, and more, it has everything you would want in an herbal sleep aid. There are no known side effects – unlike the other pills we talked about so far – and it has a very high success rate as reported by satisfied customers. Many people who take this supplement report sleeping through the night more frequently, falling asleep faster, and waking up refreshed. Most prescription sleeping pills can’t produce those same results – whether on label, or off.

Is Your Doctor Being Honest About the Potential Dangers of Prescription Sleep Medication?

We’ve all had our problems getting the rest we want. Sometimes, when we struggle with this problem more often than not, those commercials on TV advertising prescription sleeping pills are very tempting. But if you have the means to get one of these scripts from your doctor, take pause for a moment to really think about the consequences before you rush to the pharmacy.

There are some very good reasons why you can’t just pick up these pills over the counter. If the drugs were safe as the drug companies want you to believe, why would you need both a pharmacist and a medically trained doctor to give you permission? The truth is that these powerful drugs are given out more often than they’re actually needed these days. And this wanton disregard for people’s safety in exchange for profit is doing more harm than good for people who probably don’t even need prescription sleep medication in the first place. Before you take a prescription in order to help you sleep, make sure you know about all of the risks. Otherwise, the treatment can become worse than the disease.

Prescription Sleep Aid Side Effects 101

Whether it’s for legal liability reasons or because there are very real concerns, the warning leaflets for most medications these days are the size of a small dictionary. And that’s just the information the drug manufacturers want you to know. There are some other things that they would rather keep secret, such as…

The Correlation Between Cancer and Prescription Sleep Aids

A recent scientific study analyzed the relationship between mortality rate, positive cancer diagnosis, and prescription sleeping pills. And this wasn’t published in some fly-by-night journal – this was published in BMJ Open, which is both indexed and well known for its scientific integrity. According to the study, people who took prescription sleeping pills on a regular basis had both higher mortality rates and were more likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. On top of this, there is some buried data conducted by FDA studies which may show that this BMJ study is evidence of not just correlation, but possible causation as well.

Sleeping Pills Have Withdrawal Symptoms

There are many reasons why someone may decide to quit sleeping pills cold turkey. Maybe they are forced to because they lose their health insurance or the medication suddenly becomes too expensive. Maybe they have to switch primary care doctors, and this new caregiver cares enough about their health to take away their script. Maybe a person up and decides on their own that they’ve had enough. Regardless, there are many unpleasant if not downright dangerous side effects you may experience from sleeping pill withdrawal. Some of those include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Panic attack
  • rebound insomnia, which can lead to sleep deprivation

There are a number of people who are taking prescription sleeping pills right now not because they want to or still need to, but because they are afraid of how miserable the withdrawal will be. This creates a cycle of dependence and addiction not unlike that of the opioid epidemic.

Performing Unhealthy, Dangerous, and Even Deadly Activities in Your Sleep

You’ve probably heard a funny story about somebody sleepwalking or sleep eating or sleep tweeting racist comments while under the influence of a prescription sleeping pill. You may have just laughed it off in passing; but the truth is that doing any activity (other than sleeping) while under the influence of prescription sleep medication can be extremely dangerous. Eating late at night – and most likely eating very unhealthy foods – is both bad for your waistline and your long-term health. Walking around while not conscious enough to remember it the next day often leads to serious falling injuries like fractures and concussions. Some people have even been known to drive a car or engage in sexual activity while still technically asleep. these extreme examples are incredibly dangerous for obvious reasons.

Of course, the potential lethality of prescription sleep aids isn’t limited to what you do out of bed while unconscious. They can kill you in your sleep even if you stay in bed all night. Sleep apnea is a serious condition where a person’s airways become blocked and they stop breathing while they sleep. Prescription sleeping pills have been clearly shown to exacerbate symptoms of sleep apnea. This cuts off oxygen to your brain and the other major organs of your body, potentially leading to death.

Prescription Sleeping Pill Alternatives

Some people may read this and decide never to touch a prescription sleeping pill. Others may feel conflicted. After all, if your insomnia problems are very serious, it may feel like these drugs are the only answer. But if they’re too dangerous to take the risk, what else is there? Is the small chance of injury or death really that much worse than chronic insomnia? And if so, what else can a person take to alleviate their sleep troubles?

Some people may be tempted to reach for an over the counter sleeping pill. Since they’re sold in pharmacies and don’t require a prescription, they should be safe, right? Wrong. We’ve talked about over-the-counter sleep aids before, so we strongly urge you to read our report there. But to make a long story short, over the counter sleeping pills have their own inherent dangers and risks. They are only a slightly less unappealing option then a prescription.

Instead, you should try natural methods first. Many people are unaware how poor their sleep hygiene is and how much relief they can find from practicing better habits. Others may be surprised to find out that there are plenty of natural, herbal sleep aids on the market which can be just as effective as any drug. Better yet, these herbal remedies don’t come with the horrific side effects that you would experience from a prescription sleeping pill. Some of the most popular ingredients include melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile – just to name a few. You can relax naturally and get deep, restorative, high-quality sleep by using a natural sleep aid instead of a dangerous medication.