Eat variety for good sleep

Eat well, sleep well -- on the one hand, it really is that simple.

On the other, it really is that complicated -- because eating well is about more than just eating healthy foods.

It's about having a balanced diet with a wide range of healthy foods -- and a failure to get the right variety could be what's keeping you up at night. In fact, a new study finds that people who regularly get the 7-9 hours of sleep needed for proper rest are people who eat the widest variety of foods and maintain a balanced diet.

It's easy to see why. Poor sleep can be caused or worsened by nutritional deficiencies. When you eat a wide range of foods, you're more likely to get a wide range of nutrients and have a balanced diet.

And when you get a wide range of nutrients, you're less likely to be deficient in any of them.

On the other hand, a lack of variety means you could miss out on essential nutrients -- and in particular, people with poor sleep habits have low dietary intake of vitamin C, lycopene, selenium, iron, and zinc.

They also don't eat enough protein or drink enough water, and tend to get the wrong amount of carbs (either too much or too little), according to the study published in Appetite.

But while a balanced diet is essential to good sleep, your eating habits are only part of the picture. What you drink is also critical -- and if you booze it up before bed, your sleep will suffer.

Caffeine can also keep you up -- and not just caffeine at night. If you're sensitive to this stimulant then soda or coffee in the afternoon can actually lead to tossing and turning hours later.

The catch here is that you could be sensitive to caffeine and not even know it. Most people don't, so if you're having trouble sleeping, try eliminating all sources of caffeine first and see if it makes a difference.

In addition, lifestyle habits, illness, and hormonal issues can all affect how well you sleep. A holistic physician can run some tests that will help you figure it all out.