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  • Foundation for Airway Health

The Relationship of Diet and Nutrition to Airway Sleep Breathing

Updated: Jan 26

Decades of research point to the connection between a healthy diet and good health. Studies indicate that good nutrition is essential to good health and disease reduction. As our understanding of the relationship between diet, nutrition, and sleep continues to evolve, it’s crucial to recognize the impact of these factors on airway sleep breathing (ASB) — the process of inhaling and exhaling during sleep.

The quality of your sleep, which impacts your overall health, can be impacted by diet and nutrition, and adopting healthier habits can improve ASB and overall sleep quality. Continue reading to learn more about the role of diet and nutrition in maintaining optimal ASB and practical steps to enhance sleep quality.

Dietary Factors Affecting ASB

Several dietary factors can influence ASB, including:

● Weight Gain and Obesity

Excess body weight, particularly around the neck and upper airway, can increase the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Losing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce the severity of OSA and improve ASB.

● Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat, increasing the likelihood of airway obstruction during sleep. Reducing alcohol intake, especially in the evening, can improve ASB.

● Caffeine

Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can increase arousal and difficulty falling asleep, which can negatively impact airway sleep breathing. Limiting caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening, can help promote better sleep.

Nutritional Guidelines for Improved Sleep Quality

● Maintain a Balanced Diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can promote overall health and improve sleep quality. Eating various foods ensures you get the essential nutrients needed for proper bodily functions, including sleep.

● Consume Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium plays a vital role in supporting deep, restorative sleep. Foods high in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

● Incorporate Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, which is converted into melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

● Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to disrupted sleep, due to leg cramps, dry mouth, and increased thirst during the night. Ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day to support healthy sleep.

Incorporating these dietary changes and maintaining a well-balanced diet can significantly contribute to better ASB, improving sleep quality and overall health.

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