Are You Getting Quality Zzz’s?
Sleep is one of the most unrated facets of overall health. Restorative rest aids optimal bodily functions like calmness, healing, growth, and repair. How does one prepare and support quality sleep? The food we eat is essential, but how and when also plays a crucial role in this activity. Could a tweak here and there with food choices and the timing of when you eat support circadian cycles? The how and why of better choices: Melatonin is a hormone our body makes that helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote restful sleep. Focusing on foods high in antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, naturally occurring melatonin, and essential minerals will aid in sleep and provide significant health benefits. In addition, foods containing tryptophan, an essential amino acid, promote and regulate melatonin, leading to better sleep and improved health. The bigger picture is consistency, mindfulness, and balance. Our diet should provide stable sources of vitamins and minerals for proper sleep hygiene. Keeping your sleep environment clutter-free and clean, dimming the lights at night, cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and stress, and becoming mindful of not eating too late is also complementary to restorative rest. Two hours before bedtime should be your cutoff for meals or snacks. Best Foods for Quality Sleep:
decaffeinated soothing teas (chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and peppermint)
Worst Foods that will make it difficult to sleep and why? Several of the biggest offenders of quality sleep are spicy, fatty, and decadent foods. High sugar and processed convenience foods typically raise blood sugar levels and could make falling asleep more difficult. A massive steak may not be your best bet for a restful night of sleep as this overwhelming feeling of fullness disrupts digestion and could contribute to optimal rest. Anything processed, sugary, and high in fat may make sleep troublesome and trigger nightmares. Try to Avoid:
processed and high-fat foods
sugary food and drink
low fiber, high fat
spicy foods (promote reflux and indigestion)
acidic and citrus foods (promote reflux and indigestion)
chocolate (high caffeine content)
There is a connection between food and healthful sleep. The proper nutrients we get from food are the building blocks necessary to keep bodily functions running on schedule. Becoming mindful of favorable behavior shifts and how they alter that precious cycle will optimize your best outcome.