In women with endometriosis, getting a good night sleep can become a luxury. Knowing what helps and which food is best suited is important to improve your chances of sleeping well?
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic disease in which tissues of the lining of the uterus settle outside the uterus. These foci of endometriosis usually occur in the abdomen on the ovaries, intestines, or bladder. Because this tissue behaves in the same way as the lining of the uterus, the foci of endometriosis grow in the first half of the menstrual cycle to be repelled at the end of the cycle. This can lead to severe pain and inflammation. If the ovaries are affected, fertility is often restricted. If the intestine or bladder are affected, there may be problems with bowel movements or urination. Affected women suffer from exhaustion, depression, irritability, insomnia, pain in the lower back and abdomen.
Risks for endometriosis
A number of factors increase the risk of endometriosis:
- Irregular and strong menstruation
- Pain in the pelvic floor
- Endometriosis in relatives
- Poor sleep: endometriosis is often associated with poor sleep. Both falling asleep and staying asleep is a problem for affected women.
Did you know that women who are physically active for more than three hours a week and eat a lot of dairy products are less likely to suffer from endometriosis?
The fact that the disease also affects the night’s rest is very unpleasant. After all, sleep is an indispensable process that also promotes healing. The link between endometriosis, sleep and pain has been clearly demonstrated in studies. For this reason, sufferers experience depressive moods more often.
How Important Is Melatonin
Of course, the sleep hormone melatonin plays a role. Changes in melatonin levels affect not only the sleep-wake rhythm and thus sleep, but also fertility. In addition, melatonin is an important pain inhibitor, has an antioxidant effect and regulates the immune system.
In one study, participants with endometriosis consumed foods that stimulate the production of melatonin. These include foods rich in tryptophan such as dairy products, oats, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, soybeans, bananas, cherries, salmon, and tuna. Spices such as coriander and cardamom are also rich in tryptophan and have a sleep-promoting effect.
Tryptophan promotes good sleep
The consumption of foods rich in tryptophan was lower in studies in women with endometriosis. And that was clearly related to all the complaints. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, and exercise also had a clear influence on the disease.
Fewer symptoms occurred when eating the following foods:
- dairy products
- Sour cherry juice
- Oats and whole grains
- Kale and green leafy vegetables
Carbohydrates and calcium promote sleep
Carbohydrates such as rice, bread and potatoes positively affect the formation of tryptophan in the body and improve the quality of sleep. The combination of carbohydrates or tryptophan with healthy fats also promotes sleep, according to studies. Carbohydrate-rich foods with a high glycemic index, such as jasmine rice, helped patients fall asleep faster in one study.
According to studies, sufficient calcium is important for normal REM sleep. If this sleep phase is disturbed, a lack of recovery and lower performance are the result. Important for a good night’s sleep are also vitamin B6 and magnesium. Even a small magnesium deficiency disturbed the quality of sleep in studies. Overall, a healthy lifestyle in any case also promotes the discomfort of endometriosis.
Erica is an experienced nurse working in the central Florida area. She focuses on subjects related to pregnancy and infant health. She is a mother of two with hobbies ranging from dancing to playing the piano.