EAT YOUR WAY TO A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

What you put into your body during the day can have a powerful effect on how well you sleep at night.

Eat right during the day and you’ll be more prepared when it’s time for bed.

Eating can have a powerful affect on how well we sleep at night. Some foods make us sleepy, while others keep us awake. We’ve all experienced a poorly-timed food coma, or caught a case of the jitters when all we wanted was to catch some shuteye. If you find yourself lumbering to get some slumber, it’s important to understand how the foods we put into our bodies affect our body clock.

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Put the afternoon food coma to rest. No one enjoys a post-lunch lull. The culprit? Partially it’s large meals, especially ones rich in carbs, but it’s also the natural setting of our internal clocks. While our bodies may be wired to desire a little afternoon rest, carbohydrate-rich meals require more energy to digest and make matters worse. Our bodies are designed to consume small meals, anyway, so it’s always best to eat light at lunch.

Be careful with caffeine. For many of us it’s hard to make it through a day without reaching for a cup of coffee, tea, soda or an energy drink. Unfortunately, too much caffeine only leads to a crash. Cancel the double espresso and avoid caffeine close to bedtime. Sometimes caffeine can be helpful, but it also stays in your system for up to ten hours. Never consume caffeine past noon and be aware of less obvious sources, like chocolate, many medications and even decaffeinated coffee.

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Don’t tax your digestive system. It’s important to avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. These put your digestive system to work and can lead to discomfort which can leave you unable to nod off. While a little bit of protein helps our bodies, it can result in increased alertness. Another sleep cycle disrupter is high-fat foods, so turn down that bacon cheeseburger if you’re looking to turn in for the night.

Nix the spice. Spicy foods can lead to heartburn, and heartburn is made worse by lying down.

AFTERNOON ••••••••••••••••••• EVENING ••••••••••••••••••• BEDTIME

Can the Fluids. It’s important to stay hydrated during the day, but if you want to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep be sure to restrict fluids close to bedtime. Cross the midnight bathroom break off your nighttime to-do list, and enjoy the benefits of a full night’s slumber.

When the day winds down, call in the carbs. Foods high in carbohydrates can make us drowsy. They make tryptophan, that all-powerful sleep-inducing amino acid, more available to the brain. For an even better bedtime snack, grab something with both carbs and a little bit of protein, which is the building block of tryptophan. Nibble on something like cereal with milk, peanut butter on toast or cheese and crackers, and give your body the nutrition it needs to shut off. Poultry, bananas, oats and honey are some other foods that contain tryptophan.

Go straight edge. While some people may swear that alcohol makes it easier to fall sleep, it actually disrupts sleep cycles during the course of the night. Alcohol prevents you from entering the all-important deeper stages of sleep, meaning you may spend enough hours in bed and still wake up tired and unfocused.

Follow these tips, eat healthy in general, and never overlook how the things you put into your body affect you 24/7. Who knows? A better night’s sleep might only be a few bites away.

 
 

TIP OF THE WEEK

AVOID THE SNOOZE BUTTON
Uninterrupted slumber is better sleep. Train yourself to get up on the first ring.