Improving Your Diet, Improving Your Sleep
Good sleep is not always an easy thing to come by. Sure most of us sleep every night, but it’s not always restful and it’s not always a productive sleep. And while there can be many reasons as to why you’re not getting the rest you need (improper mattress/pillows, allergies, poor bedtime rituals, etc.), your diet is one of the biggest causes of the problem, and luckily, it’s one of the easiest to fix in order to get the sleep you need.
Now, most of your diet for a better sleep is going to come in the latter meals, snacks and beverages of the day as most of what you eat for breakfast and lunch is burned off by the time you’re ready for bed. This is, of course, not the case if you never leave your bed and/or drink two pots of coffee a day; this is also not the case if you skimp on your meals throughout the day and leave it for one mega meal, greasy fast food alternatives or heavy snacking. For most people, it’s the decisions we make in the last couple hours of our day that really affects our sleep. Finding the right foods to eat during these last couple hours is all about upping your insulin levels and mitigating the release of cortisol, which will keep you awake.
This can be done in two ways, eating foods rich in quality fat and proteins, foods like nuts, cottage cheese, protein shakes, and peanut butter. These foods will help keep your insulin levels stable throughout the night. Tryptophan is another great option. Most commonly associated with turkey and post-Thanksgiving naps, tryptophan is actually found in a wide variety of foods such as milk, honey, eggs, bananas and some other dairy products; although eating a gallon of ice cream might have contrary effects on your sleep. Pairing these tryptophan rich foods with a carbohydrate activates the full potential of the tryptophan and serotonin production. Incorporating either of these two ingredients into your evening snacking will result in much better sleep.
There are also foods you should avoid prior to bed. Caffeine seems like the most obvious culprit in poor sleep but is still one of the biggest factors found affecting people’s sleep. This is because many of us ingest copious amounts of caffeine throughout the day and the effects are still present in our bodies come bedtime. A stimulant, caffeine is found in many items other than coffee such as chocolate, tea, soda and energy drinks. To make sure it’s fully out of your body, avoid caffeine for up to six hours prior to sleeping. Alcohol, too, should be avoided as it disrupts your sleep cycles by acting as a stimulant or by forcing your body to metabolize the alcohol and thus not resting. Similarly, cigarettes should be omitted from your diet to improve your sleep as nicotine is yet another stimulant.
The road to good sleep is paved with good dietary decisions. By avoiding huge late night meals and planning your evening snacking around foods that will promote efficient sleep, you will soon find yourself entering into more sound, restful and productive sleep that will leave you feeling energized the following day.
About the Author: Brandon Travis likes to spend his free time swimming and training for his next triathlon in the spring. When he’s not working out, he likes to review sites that have anti snoring devices like irollover.com.