Food can help or hinder sleep…which foods are you eating?
Are you dealing with sleeping issues? Can’t seem to get to sleep because your mind is racing or maybe you are exhausted and fall asleep right away but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. There are lots of reasons that sleep seems to elude us, but have you ever thought that some of the foods you eat at dinner or after could be the reason you can’t get a good night’s rest?
There is food that hinders sleep and there is food that can help us relax. If you are adding one but not the other and you are dealing with high stress and poor sleep habits, you could be setting yourself up for a restless night.
First, let’s discuss what good sleep habits mean. Sleep habits refer to the process or routine you go though each night to prepare for sleep. I swear I had never heard about this until I went to a parenting class for my first born on how to sleep train her to sleep through the night. It was eye opening for me! I started applying the same principles to my own before bed routine and I started sleeping better too! When putting a baby to sleep it’s about creating a calming environment. Have you had a look around your bedroom lately? Is it cluttered? Are you working on your business, balancing your financial life or watching intense television shows in bed? Well, it’s time to turn off the t.v., put the electronics away (yes, that means your phone too) and possibly pick up a book or listen to some calming music. It’s also important to dim the lights as our brains begin to produce melatonin to help us sleep when the sun goes down. Most importantly it’s about the “routine” meaning that it should be relatively the same every night. You should prepare your body and train your brain that it’s time to relax, shut down and rest.
Now, what did you last eat and when did you eat it. I highly recommend that you stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed. It’s hard to sleep when your stomach still has food it’s trying to process. Laying down after eating is not optimal as it can lead to gas, bloating and even re-flux! So, do your digestive system a favor and stop eating late at night. It’s also important to give you digestive system a break over night to get some internal house cleaning done. Just because you are sleeping doesn’t mean your organs shut down, but they do need the time to slow down and rest as well.
There are a variety of foods that could be keeping you up at night. The most obvious are stimulants like coffee, soda, candy and chocolate. These foods are high in caffeine and sugar which stimulate our body regardless of whether we are tired or not. Our brains might be exhausted, but our body is not able to settle down. Alcohol is another sleep robber. I know a few people that actually use alcohol to get to sleep but alcohol can rob you of deep REM sleep and can disrupt your sleep later in the night. High fat processed foods can keep you from sleeping your best as well. Do you remember our chat above about digestion? Fats are very slow to digest so you definitely want to be sure that you give yourself time to digest before rolling into bed after a high fat meal.
On the flip side there are foods that can help you slip into a long overnight nap. Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan which is a precursor to both serotonin (happiness) and melatonin (sleepiness) are great to promote better sleep. Turkey is a great example and I bet you can recall the after-dinner lull from a big holiday turkey dinner. Other foods that have tryptophan include dairy (which is why your mom or grandma always warmed some milk to drink before bed), nuts and seeds, and spinach. There are a few foods that are naturally high in melatonin itself. These include tart cherries, or even tart cherry juice, rolled oats and nuts and seeds. Magnesium, also known as the anti-stress mineral is important for helping to relax. Dark leafy greens are high in magnesium as well as avocados and again nuts and seeds.
I personally love to have something warm to help wind down from a busy day and now that the chilly weather is here tea is my favorite part of my bedtime ritual. Some great sleep-inducing teas include chamomile, valerian, peppermint or passion fruit.
“Sometimes the most productive thing one can do is sleep” ~Unknown~
Do you want to know more? Are you ready to sleep better than ever? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals including better sleep? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. We can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!