Year of Making Things Nice

Diet and it’s impact on sleep patterns

It's not as seasonal as I originally believed. The impact is subtle but obvious ... once you see the pattern.

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Sometimes, the problem is obvious and the hunt is on for a solution.

Sometimes, the problem is only obvious after stumbling upon a solution.

Quite by accident, I’ve discovered which bits of my diet are disrupting my sleep.

A few years ago, I learnt about an allergy that many have but few don’t realise – eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) or eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE). The spelling depends on which country makes the diagnosis.

The diagnosis for EoE is made when a biopsy reveals a high count of eosinophils in the oesophagus. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that also turns up  in our noses, creating the inflammation associated with hay fever and asthma.

That’s what the doctor found in my oesophagus when I asked if something could be done to reduce the number of antacid tablets I was taking every day.

I’ve since worked out that too much bread, rice, biscuits, palm oil, canola oil and the like would trigger an inflammation response and close up my oesophagus. Some gentle breathing for a few minutes, primarily to avoid panic, usually saw everything settle down. The idea was simply to avoid overdoing it. A little bit was OK.

Turns out, that little bit stills has an impact.

Earlier this year, I was lazily let my Mum cook eggs and toast for my breakfast. This went on for a few weeks while I wasn’t working. When it was time to get back to the daily grind, the home-cooked meal was swapped for a swift bowl of museli.

I noticed a pattern. Sleep was better when I hadn’t eaten any bread that day.

I started to test the pattern. Toast, sandwiches, pizza, potato chips, battered fish, pasta, crackers with dip … each and everyone equals a stuffed up nose and disrupted sleep.

I think I’ve found an excuse to live on ice-cream and chocolate!

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