As a society, we are sleeping less. So, it should come as no surprise that lack of sleep is a common complaint among adults. While your sleep environment is a key component to a good night’s rest, how and what you eat also plays a big role in your quality and quantity of sleep.
Follow these tips to find out how you can eat to sleep better and be on a path to a more restful slumber:
- Don’t skip, then splurge. Skipping meals changes your hormone levels and can throw off your body’s normal sleep pattern. Eating large, late dinners to make up for skipped meals only makes matters worse. Big meals increase blood flow to your digestive tract and stimulate your system instead of calming your body. Do your best to stick to your normal eating routine to avoid restless nights.
- Strike the proper balance. Follow a well-rounded diet with foods high in calcium and B vitamins. These vitamins, along with magnesium, help to promote better sleep. Dairy and leafy greens are a great source of calcium, which help our bodies produce the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Vitamin B6 helps our body produce the “calming hormone” known as serotonin. This vitamin can be found in chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and wheat bread, to name a few.
- Say no to after-dinner espressos. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, thus keeping you tossing and turning all night. Opt for decaf the next time someone offers you a cup of coffee after dinner.
- Don’t be a party victim. Know what foods cause you indigestion and avoid them close to bedtime. Stay away from fatty and spicy foods as they can lead to acid reflux and indigestion. Also, keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum. Too much alcohol will disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and may keep you up all night.
- Go herbal. Have a soothing cup of tea, such as chamomile, passionflower, or verbena, before bed. These teas act as a mild sedative, which help to calm and relax your body.
Feelings of tiredness, weariness, and lack of energy can creep up towards the end of our workday. Studies show poor nutrition is one of the key reasons. Food fuels our bodies consequently, what we choose to eat will have an impact on the performance of our bodies.
Instead of reaching for energy drinks loaded with sugar, fight fatigue with these foods:
- Oatmeal: Fuel up on quality carbohydrates in the morning with a bowl of oatmeal. Glucose is slowly absorbed through soluble fibers, which provides fuel for our brain and muscles as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable.
- Melons: Up your H2O intake with food such as watermelon. They are a good source of energy and since they have 90% water they help to prevent dehydration.
- Nuts: A healthy dose of magnesium, protein and fiber, nuts will provide energy and keep it stable throughout the workday.
- Sweet Potatoes: With a quarter of a day’s worth of potassium and energy-stabilizing high-fiber carbs, sweet potatoes balance electrolytes and keep us hydrated. Potassium also helps fight fatigue by relaxing the body and lowering blood pressure.
- Bananas: Low in calories, high in antioxidants and healthy carbohydrates, bananas break down blood sugar for fuel. Combine them with a healthy fat, such as peanut butter, for a well-rounded energy boost.
- Leafy greens: Fight fatigue with iron-rich foods such as spinach. Lack of iron can cause feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. Iron helps maintain energy levels, keeps blood oxygenated and maintains healthy blood pressure.
- Chia seeds: Known as a “running food”, chia seeds are packed with protein and fiber (5 grams per tablespoon) to keep blood sugar levels stable. Try them in yogurt, water, or a morning smoothie.
- Whole wheat: Fiber rich foods like whole wheat English muffins or bagels keep energy levels stable while helping to fill you up. These foods also keep up stamina levels.
- Protein: Fish, beans, eggs, poultry, soy, meat, and low-fat dairy products are good sources of protein. Protein controls the release of energy from carbohydrates and fats, preserves lean muscle mass, maintains cells and assists in growth.