Is it 3 a.m. and you are still awake and staring at the clock? At some point in our lives, most people experience restless nights, and some suffer from many sleepless nights. Stress and anxiety contribute to sleepless nights, but did you know what you ate or drank today could be keeping you awake? What we consume throughout the day has a lingering effect on our bodies, and often this results in wakefulness and sleep deprivation.
Why Does What We Eat Matter?
Eating right and exercising has been encouraged for decades from physicians, fitness gurus, and health experts. Your body will reap the benefits of eating right, but so will your sleep health. According to Dr. Carl Hunt, what we eat does indeed interfere with sleeping patterns, particularly anything with caffeine or nicotine. Sugar is also a sleep deprivation culprit, and too much can cause influxes of insulin and spikes in your blood sugar which gives you an energy rush but will keep you awake as the sugar digests because your body sees it as a stress factor. Food and drinks that have no nutritional value but are instead packed with carbohydrates and sugar contribute to insomnia and wakefulness.
So What If I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
During our busy lives, sleep can often be the one activity that is pushed aside to make more time for other things. Adults need eight hours of good rest to be able to function properly. Without sleep, we start to break down both physically and mentally. Establishing good sleeping habits or healthy evening habits to help you wind down from the day are important steps to take for better sleep quality. Eating certain foods will also help promote better rest tonight, so consider trying out these yummy foods that can help you ease into sleep.
Foods that Feed Sleep
Have you ever thought you could eat your way into sleep tonight? Certain items contain minerals and vitamins that make us sleepy. Calcium, magnesium, B6, and tryptophan are considered to be the four main elements that promote sleep. These can be found in specific foods, and people are encouraged to consume these items in the hours before bedtime. Better rest tonight can be achieved by trying these items:
- Turkey or chicken
- Broccoli, spinach, or asparagus
- Bananas or avocados
- Low fat, low sugar yogurt (organic preferred)
- Tuna or salmon
- Warm milk, chamomile tea, or peppermint tea
These items are naturally healthy and have one of the four vitamins or minerals listed above that promote sleepiness.
Do You Want Sleep? Avoid These Items
Specific items exist that help you rest, and then there are certain items that will rob you of sleep. While some of these are good for you, eating them in the period before bedtime is not recommended. Too many trips to the bathroom, unstable blood sugar, and heartburn can irritate your body and keep you awake. Skip these items in the hours before going to sleep:
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Watermelon, celery and other items heavy with water content
- Large, heavy meals that make your body focus on digestion rather than sleeping
- Spicy meals or food which can cause heartburn or indigestion
- Items with too much protein which also upsets digestion and keeps you awake
Regular sleep interference can cause a host of medical issues. Rest is needed for both the mind and body to be able to function properly. What we eat and drink during the day affects how we rest in the evening. Taking care of you and eating well and avoiding sugar can help achieve better rest. Try the recommended food and drinks before bed and skip out on the alcohol and large meals. Good rest is needed and can be done because if you eat well, you will sleep well.
Bio: Sarah writes about everything sleep related at SleepyDeep.com. She is a firm believer in perfecting sleep to promote overall wellbeing and health. If we’re spending one third of our lives sleeping, why not make the most out of it?