We all know by now that what we and when we drink have a direct effect on our sleep. Drinking more than 400 mg of caffeine a day, or enjoying a cup of coffee a couple of hours before bedtime, can interfere with our sleep, as well as having an alcoholic drink prior to sleep. But what about food? The connection between sleep and what we eat might not be so obvious. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you should know that paying attention to what you eat is just as important as controlling you caffeine or alcohol consumption, and knowing how different foods affect your body can help keep you alert during the day, and better prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
A recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information followed the daily diet, quality and quantity of sleep of 26 healthy adults aged 30-45, for five nights. For the first four days of the study, the researchers prescribed a controlled diet for the participants. On the fifth day, the participants themselves chose what to eat during the day. The data showed a connection between having small amounts of dietary fiber and higher amounts of saturated fats and sugars, with a lighter, lower quality sleep and more frequent waking up during the night.
Cut down on empty calories
If you’re asking yourself how to sleep better – start with drinking water. Switching to sugar-free beverages such as water/carbonated water and dietetic soft drinks, can help control your weight and reduce fat tissues that may be blocking your airway at night and causing you to snore. It typically takes about 2 weeks to adjust to the reduction in sugar consumption. If needed - this transition can be done gradually.
Although freshly squeezed fruit juice sounds like a great idea, it actually contains a substantial amount of sugar and far less fiber than if you would have eaten the fruit as a whole. Instead, eat a fruit and drink a glass of water.
Eat a healthy breakfast within the first hour of waking up
Eating breakfast is a strong cue that signals your brain that it’s time to be awake and alert. Having a healthy meal also fuels your body with energy for the day to come. Here are a few recommended breakfast options: 1) Whole grain cereal with milk 2) Oatmeal porridge 3) Whole wheat pancake or muffin 4) Whole wheat bread or toast with cottage cheese and eggs. Feel free to supplement the meal with a fruit: an orange, a banana, an apple, or a cup of strawberries.
Have a high-protein low-carb lunch
Boost your energy with a high-protein, low-carb lunch. Sample lunch options can be created by choosing one item from each of the following food groups:
Proteins: boiled eggs, cheese, turkey, tuna or smoked salmon.
Complex carbs: whole wheat bread, legumes or oatmeal.
Oils: Avocado, Tahini, olives, olive oil or almonds.
Non-starchy vegetables: keep it colorful to receive different vitamins! - Artichoke, Asparagus, baby corn, Beans (green, wax, Italian), Beets, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, green Cabbage / Bok choy, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Greens (Collard, Kale, Lettuce, Endive, Romaine, Spinach, Arugula), Sprouts, Turnips, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Pea pods, Peppers, Radishes, Squash (summer, spaghetti, zucchini) or Tomatoes.
Eat a light, low-fat dinner
Your last meal for the day should not be too heavy on your digestive system and make it harder for you to fall asleep. It should include proteins, carbs, oils (healthy fats), and greens. Choose proteins such as turkey, poultry, or fish, carbs such as whole grain bread/rice, or pasta, oils like avocado, tahini, or olives, and green leaf salad or chopped salad. Make sure to eat your dinner no later than 3 hours before sleep, as eating too close to bedtime can cause difficulties falling and remaining asleep throughout the night, as it both signals your body that it’s still time to be awake, and may also cause indigestion.
We know that lifestyle changes require persistence, commitment and most importantly – patience. dayzz sleep app guides you on how to improve sleep 24/7, with daily challenges and constant tips to help you control your caffeine intake as well as to form eating habits that promote quality sleep. Start with getting a quick, personal sleep assessment.