Sorry to state the obvious here but most people are not getting enough sleep. This can be for a number of reasons, eating a diet to which you are not suited is one of the main reasons. Also if you eat too little or too much this can also cause a problem.

Eating too little or the wrong foods will cause a stress response in the body. This will cause a release of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ which is part of the ‘Fight or Flight response’. This hormone is normally high in the morning and subsides towards the end on the day when melatonin begins to rise. Cortisol is generally referred to as the awakening hormone and melatonin the sleep hormone. Anything that causes a rise in cortisol will suppress melatonin and interrupt our sleep patterns. Although cortisol is a natural anti inflammatory, high levels of it at night will seriously affect sleep patterns.

Not eating enough, eating the wrong foods or eating foods to which we are intolerant to, will cause a rise in cortisol and cause us to wake up. This is generally associated with needing to go to the toilet, next time this happens try eating something you will almost certainly sleep better afterwards.

Eating too much or too late causes rises in blood sugar (energy) which needs to be dissipated before a sound sleep state can be reached, high blood sugar, causes inflammation which causes a release of cortisol and a subsequent reduction of melatonin leading to poor sleep. We noted previously that a poor diet causes hormonal imbalances and weight control issues, these same hormonal imbalances can also affect our sleep cycles. Dehydration, will cause a rise in cortisol and a suppression of seratonin, seratonin is the precursor to melatonin and will alter sleep cycles. If exercise is too late in the evening this will cause a rise in cortisol levels for around 4 hours so if you are training late and are having difficulty in getting to sleep this could be the reason.