Namaste, Smart Moms!
You know we all need our beauty sleep.
Adequate sleep is also linked to better mental and physical health. An estimated 35% of Americans do not get enough sleep (7-8 hours of sleep). Lack of proper sleeps puts us at greater risk for depression, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and many other health issues. Getting enough sleep is good for our brains as well as our interpersonal relationships. (1)
It’s important to stick to a sleep schedule and establish a routine that is conducive to getting your body ready for sleep and relaxation. Keep away from blue light emitted by electronics at least an hour before you want to go to sleep as that light can keep you awake.
Find out what it is that helps you relax. Whether it’s yoga, reading, a light snack before bed, find out your routine so your body knows its cues and when it’s time to hit the sack.
Additionally, the food you eat plays an important role in your sleep.
Best Foods To Eat For Sleep
- Cherries: this fruit contains melatonin which is a chemical that helps control our sleep schedules. Drinking some tart cherry juice or eating some cherries before bed could help you sleep. (2)
- Tea: Valerian, chamomile, and motherwort are some teas that are linked with sleep aid. (8) It may be the tea or it may be the warm, relaxing ritual—either way it’s been boasted as a big help over and over again. My personal favorite.
- Simple carbs: eating easy to digest carbs like potatoes before bed has been linked to helping people fall and stay asleep. (4)
- Complex carbs: eating bran, granola, or other complex carbs helps promote sleep. Remember to keep the foods you’re eating before bed healthy. (6)
- Milk: tryptophan is linked as a precursor to serotonin production in the brain, which may be linked to easier sleep. Turkey and walnuts also contain tryptophan.
- Nutrition supplements: lycopene (found in tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit), selenium (found in fish, barley, turkey), and melatonin are all helpful for falling and staying asleep. (4) Vitamin B6 (found in fish) helps in the production of melatonin. (5) Magnesium and potassium (bananas, sweet potatoes, almonds) help with sleep because they relax your muscles. Trouble falling asleep is believed to be a result of calcium deficiency. Try getting more in your diet with dairy, kale, or collards. (9) You can get these nutrients by eating food consisting of them or by getting supplements to take before bed.
Worst Foods To Eat For Sleep
- High fat content foods: stay away from the bacon, burgers, and greasy pizza at night. Fat causes acid production in the stomach which can slip into your esophagus (nasty heartburn). They also loosen the sphincter barrier keeping acid in your stomach, which means when you lay down it makes it all too easy for acid to get in places it shouldn’t be. (3)
- Heavy spices: spicy foods have been shown to influence quality and quantity of sleep negatively. People who ate spicy foods or condiments with their dinner generally had a harder time falling asleep and slept less deep than those who didn’t. (7)
- Wine: alcohol is not conducive to sleep. In fact, it’s pretty awful. It metabolizes quickly and wakes you up several times throughout the night. It’s better to fall asleep naturally rather than rely on the quickly disappearing and disorienting fuzz of alcohol.
- Coffee: any caffeine you should generally try to stay away from later in the day. It keeps you awake and can make falling asleep very difficult. Of course everyone’s sensitivity differs based on how much they consume. You’ll know best when to stop drinking it in the day. If you don’t drink it often, best to stay away from it in the later hours.
Before-Bed Snack Ideas
- Banana and yogurt
- Cheese and crackers (whole grain)
- Peanut butter and crackers (whole grain)
- Small bowl of fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, cherries, etc.)
- Glass of milk
- Tea and toast
- Bowl of whole grain/bran/granola cereal
Your sleep is so important, and your food can pay a role in how you sleep.
Remember exercise helps keep you level, de-stressed, and helps you fall asleep.
General good nutrition and health also helps you sleep well the whole night through.
I also like to meditate and do yoga as part as my bedtime routine as it helps me relax and unwind.
Hope this help, Smart Moms!