We all know that a proper diet can lead to weight loss and an overall healthier life – but one of the best effects of a good diet is improved sleep. Sleep experts say that not only what you eat can help you sleep better, but also when you eat it.
The effects of a proper diet on your sleep can be tremendous, especially if you are experiencing poor sleep and have a less than ideal diet right now. And let’s face it – most of us can probably improve the way we eat? Eating better will not only make you feel better because you will be getting the proper nutrition your body needs to function, but you’ll also feel better because you will be more rested and alert after a healthy night’s sleep.
Here are 9 useful tips and facts on how to get your diet under control and use it to improve your overall quality of life through better sleep.
- Skipping mid-day meals throws off your body’s sleep pattern. Skipping calories sounds good, but often you’ll splurge on a large meal at night. A large dinner late at night will increase blood flow to your digestive tract, therefore making your pancreas and intestines work harder. This stimulates your system instead of calming it.
- Eating more food in the morning and more frequently thereafter helps to regulate your nutrition and balance your hormones throughout the day. Eating small 250-300 calorie meals throughout the day is preferred over eating three large meals a day.
- Foods high in fat and ones that are spicy can keep you up at night if they cause indigestion and acid reflux. Stay away from these types of food during the evening hours.
- Carbs are OK for dinner. Foods high on the glycemic index help your body produce tryptophan, which in turn makes you sleepy.
- B-vitamins, calcium and zinc are nutrients that should be in everyone’s diet. Foods with these nutrients help your body to rest better, especially since B-6 helps produce serotonin – a calming hormone.
- Foods high in sodium (think deli meats) can interrupt your sleep by causing dehydration and raising your blood pressure.
- Be cautious of too much caffeine. Caffeine can remain in your system for up to 12 hours, meaning that after dinner coffee will definitely throw off your sleep pattern.
- Herbal teas, such as chamomile tea, can help calm your body and act as a natural sedative. Try drinking a hot chamomile tea 30 minutes before bedtime to calm down and unwind.
- Unprocessed foods – ones that are as close to their natural state as possible are best. Most processed foods contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause spikes and declines in energy.