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How Can Food Affect Your Senior’s Sleep?

March 30, 2021

Elderly Care Belmont, CA: Food and Senior's Sleep

What your elderly family member eats affects so many areas of her health and well-being, including how well she’s able to sleep. This can be a new concept, though, and it might mean making some big shifts to what your senior eats and when she eats it. That can feel like a lot for her to sift through on her own. 

Eating Too Late in the Day Means Digestion Interferes with Sleep 

When your elderly family member eats later in the day, that can interfere with sleep. The reasons for that have to do mostly with the effort her body is putting into digestion. Also, lying down with a full stomach can be uncomfortable, especially if your senior is prone to heartburn or to GERD. 

Too Much Sugar, Caffeine, and Acidic Foods Can Cause Digestive Issues 

But it isn’t just timing. It’s also important what your senior is eating. If she’s having too much sugar or caffeine, that directly affects her ability to get the sleep she needs. For some people acidic or spicy foods can cause similar problems. What’s really important is to find out how the foods your senior eats make her feel and whether they impact her sleep. 

Some Foods Help to Boost Natural Melatonin Levels 

Foods that contain tryptophan can help your elderly family member to ease into sleep. Combining a small amount of carbohydrates with proteins that are high in tryptophan can be an ideal combination. So, a little bit of peanut butter with a couple of crackers can be just enough to help stimulate those brain chemicals. 

Keep a Food and Sleep Diary with Your Senior 

In order to really see what works best for your elderly family member, it’s important to keep a combination sleep and food diary for at least a few days. This allows you to drill down and really see the connections between the timing of when she eats, what she’s specifically eating, and how she’s sleeping. You may not have to do this for very long to help her to see results, either. 

Managing all of this can feel like a complex set of changes to your senior, especially if you’re not able to be there with her as much as you both would like. Elderly care providers can step in and help with these issues, making it a lot easier for your elderly family member to stick with the changes she’s making. 


If you or your loved one is looking for Elderly Care in Belmont, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care. 

Santa Clara County: (408) 979-9990  

San Mateo County: (650) 353-9777 

Santa Cruz County: (831) 480-3990 

Tags:Elderly Care Belmont CAFood and Seniors