Sleep

Foods and Drinks That Support a Good Night's Sleep

Before Sleep Food and Drinks
A good diet and proper sleep are fundamental to a healthy state of being. To maintain good health, diet and rest must become aligned. The consequence of lack of sleep extends far beyond sleeping disorders, fatigue, insomnia, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Poor sleep can also promote inflammation, and increase the risk of mood disorders or neurodegenerative disorders. Of course, there are natural health supplements—including melatonin—that can help you fall asleep faster or attain a more restful sleep, but what you eat can also have a large impact. The Relationship Between Sleep and Food Several studies prove that a lack of sleep leads to an increase in food consumption. We often underestimate the positive effects a good night's sleep has on our overall health and well-being. While we try to gain better control of our daily schedules, we tend to ignore another aspect responsible for contributing to quality sleep: diet. What we eat during the day and right before bed can significantly affect our night's rest. Our diet is not just fueling our energy but is a key to our body's repair and rejuvenation. The right foods can nourish our body. We'll take a closer scientific look at some foods that are allies (and look at which ones to avoid) in our mission to better health with sound sleep. Foods for Promoting Better Sleep Turkey: Whenever we think about turkey, Thanksgiving is probably the first thought—but turkey is a great option for those who eat meat due to its high tryptophan content. This amino acid helps promote serotonin production, and can induce a more restful sleep. Chicken: Another poultry item that can give you a much-needed dose of the amino acid tryptophan. It functions as a precursor to serotonin, which helps to regulate mood and sleep. Bananas: Have them as they are or blend them into a smoothie; bananas are a rich source of potassium and tryptophan—potassium is essential to sleep. Studies reaffirm that potassium boosts total sleep time and increased potassium intake is linked to improved sleep efficiency and duration (without fragmentation—or constantly tossing and turning). Foods to Prepare for Sleep Maintain a timely schedule to train the body for routine rest. Ideally, we would rise with the sun, and sleep as the sun sets—but that isn’t always realistic. Regular sleep, of 7-9 hours, is a good span of time to ensure proper rejuvenation, and you’ll want to make sure you’re disconnected from phones or laptops at least a couple of hours prior to this. As well, foods can help or hinder you when it comes to preparing for bedtime. Foods containing "melatonin" or precursors can help regulate our sleep-wake cycle and signal your body to wind down and get ready for bedtime. Foods High in Melatonin Cherries: Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, cherries are a great choice to help you sleep better. Tart cherries, specifically, are an excellent choice to signal your body to take your well-earned rest. Here's why: tart cherries contain melatonin to regulate our sleep-wake cycle, along with increasing the production of serotonin, a chemical to help your body make melatonin. Grapes & Goji Berries: Our brain produces melatonin during the day at differing levels based in accordance with our environment—darkness vs. light environments. There is an increase in the evening while it reduces as dawn approaches. Scientists discovered that red grapes and goji berries contain melatonin, and can help people improve sleep quality naturally. Foods Containing Magnesium Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of biological and intracellular processes within your body—contributing to the production of protein and DNA, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and regulates muscles and nerves. Introducing magnesium-rich foods into your pre-sleep meal (whether this be dinner or a light snack) can help alleviate anxiety, relax the muscles, and allow for a more relaxed body. Some foods high in magnesium include: Almonds: A healthy snack, almonds are high in healthy fats and low in saturated fat. On your next visit to the grocery store, add some almonds to your shopping cart as a healthy late-night snack option. An ounce of almonds contains 77 milligrams of magnesium. A handful of almonds can provide enough magnesium to support relaxation. Spinach: Leafy vegetables like spinach are a good source of magnesium. Add spinach to your dinner (think: salad, pasta, or veggie bowl) as it helps to naturally relax your muscles and nerves. Drinks for Better Sleep Take caution to not take too much liquid before bedtime to avoid the urge to urinate midway through your sleep, causing a break in continuous rest. Sipping a warm beverage late evening can remind your body it's almost time to retire for the day. Here are a few drinks to consider for a prolonged and quality sleep: Chamomile Tea: Herbal teas like chamomile prom ...

Snooze Your Way to a Healthy and Happy Life: Mastering the Art of Quality Sleep

Welcome to the world of sleep!  A place where dreams are made, snores are heard, and blankets are pulled tight. Did you know that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping? That's a lot of time spent in dreamland! But getting quality sleep can sometimes be a challenge. Whether it's due to stress, environmental factors, or a snoring partner, we've all experienced sleepless nights. But fear not, as we have some proven tips to help you enjoy a sound sleep at night. Be it creating a sleep-conducive environment to exploring natural remedies and sleep gadgets, We've got you covered. So, snuggle up, and let's dive into the world of better sleep! Importance of Quality Sleep Quality sleep is crucial for maintaining good physical and mental health. It helps with the repair and restoration of the body, boosts the immune system, and regulates hormones. A good night's sleep can also improve mood, memory, and cognitive function, making it easier to focus and be productive during the day. Lack of quality sleep, on the other hand, can lead to a range of negative health consequences, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Tips for a Better Sleep Environment Creating a sleep-conducive environment is essential for a good night's sleep. This includes several factors, such as lighting, temperature, and noise levels. For example, it's best to keep the bedroom dark and cool, as this helps in triggering the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Earplugs or white noise machines can also help block out external noise and create a quieter environment. Additionally, choosing comfortable bedding and pillows can help you get a more restful sleep. Relaxation Techniques Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to unwind before bed and promote better sleep. Some popular techniques include meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation involves focusing your attention on your breath or a specific object to quiet the mind and reduce stress.  Deep breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths to calm the body and relax the mind. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing various muscle groups in the body to promote physical relaxation. These techniques can help to calm the mind and body and prepare you for a restful night's sleep. Sleep Hygiene Habits Establishing consistent sleep hygiene habits is crucial for improving sleep quality. This includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, as this helps regulate your body's internal clock. It's also important to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, as these can disrupt sleep.  Additionally, avoiding screen time for at least an hour before bed can help reduce the impact of blue light on the body's natural sleep cycle. Other important habits include creating a relaxing bedtime routine and ensuring that your sleeping environment is conducive to sleep. Exercise and Sleep Exercise is a great way to improve sleep quality and timing. In addition, it helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can interfere with sleep and promotes the release of endorphins, improving mood and reducing pain.  Aerobic exercises, such as running or cycling, are particularly beneficial for improving sleep, as it increases the amount of time spent in deep sleep, the most restorative stage of sleep. However, avoiding exercising too close to bedtime is important, as this can cause difficulty falling asleep. Diet and Sleep Diet plays a significant role in sleep quality. Consuming heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and interfere with sleep. For instance:  Certain foods, such as those high in tryptophan (found in turkey, nuts and seeds) and magnesium (found in leafy greens and almonds), can promote better sleep. Avoiding large meals before bedtime and limiting caffeine and sugar intake can also improve sleep quality. Alcohol indulgence should be in moderation, as it can initially make you feel drowsy but can disrupt sleep later in the night. Stress Management Stress can have a significant negative impact on sleep quality, making it harder to fall asleep as well as stay asleep. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with the sleep cycle.  Hence, it's important to identify the sources of stress in your life and find ways to manage or reduce them. This can include exercise, meditation, journaling, or therapy. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book, can also help to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Sleep Disorders Sleep disorders are conditions that can disrupt sleep and affect overall health. Common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Insomnia involves difficulty falling or staying asleep, while sleep apnea causes brief interruptions in breathing during sleep.  Also, restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs ...