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This is How You Can Eat and Drink Your Way To A Good Night Sleep

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This is How You Can Eat and Drink Your Way To A Good Night Sleep

Your alarm goes off and you instantly want to throw it through your wall.

This doesn’t set a good tone for the rest of the day and a night of lackluster sleep doesn’t just have you feeling like you have anvils on your eyelids, but can leave you unproductive at work and very unhealthy. There are things you can do through the day to have a positive effect on your health and today you will learn about some food and drink for better sleep.

How Sleep Affects Your Health

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body assumes some trauma must be going on. Or else why would you be up late through the night? Your body doesn’t know the difference between threat or the fact you’ve been up all night watching re-runs of The A-Team. All it knows is you’re alert for some reasons and to now bring your stress hormones into play.

Your stress hormones, specifically cortisol, are very important in small doses. They’re involved with your fight or flight response and you need them if it comes to having to fight off a saber tooth tiger or in this day in age jumping out of the way of a renegade Uber driver.

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Over the long term things begin to get a bit different and constant stress hormone exposure can lead to things like:

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Ulcers
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and anger
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Setting Yourself Up For Better Sleep Throughout The Day

Making smart choices throughout the day can have positive effects on your ability to get deeper and more restorative sleep at night.

The first one would be exercise. Simple strength training has been linked to better sleep and even just the simple act of exertion is going to naturally tire you out. You might not want to work out too late at night trying to get this effect as your body may still be stimulated making the sleep process more difficult.

Instead, opt for the early morning workout. Going to sleep naturally lowers your blood pressure by 10-20 percent and this is part of the process of sleep. Working out early in the morning can have a better effect at blood pressure reduction and you ability to get deeper sleep at night. This affect seems to be more pronounced from the morning workouts compared to midday or later.

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Watch The Java

There’s no surprise that caffeine is a stimulant that can affect sleep but you might be surprised to learn how long it can actually last in your body. The noticeable effects of caffeine that have you wired more than me at a Knight Rider convention tend to wear off in a few hours.

Caffeine though has a half life that can extend its effects in your body. So even if you feel the effects taper off after those few hours it can actually last for up to 5-6 hours in your blood stream potentially causing sleep problems later that night.

So you may have to play around with when you have that last coffee in the day. If you have one at 4 or 5 pm and try to sleep at 10 or 11pm, you may be feeling that caffeine half life effect.

Keep an Eye on What and How Much You Eat

There are foods that can have a negative or positive impact on your ability to sleep. Even just eating too much late at night can make digestion tougher and your body uncomfortable making sleep not very easy.

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Here’s some other foods you should avoid at least 3 hours before bed:

  • Dark Chocolate– It’s actually really good for you but contains a lot of natural caffeine
  • Spicy foods– can raise your heart rate and body temperature keeping you awake longer
  • Steak– The high protein and fat content make it a slow digesting food and this can actually throw off your circadian rhythm.
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower– The high fiber and roughage content can again require more digestion and over a longer period which keeps your body working and less likely to fall asleep

Eat Your Way To A Better Sleep

Here are some food choices you can pick to aid a better sleep:

Walnuts– They contain tryptophan which helps to make seratonin and melatonin which help your naturally body clock

Almonds– Very high in magnesium which is important in helping the body relax

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Lettuce– Contains lactucarium which has sedative effects on the brain and helps lettuce sleep better. Sorry..

Tuna– Tuna is high in vitamin B6 and which is also needed to help make seratonin and melatonin

Cherry Juice– Melatonin to the rescue here again as cherry juice can help naturally boost it in the body and help prevent insomnia

Chamomile Tea- I think a lot of people are aware of this but chamomile tea helps to relax the body and can increase glycine which acts like a mild sedative and relaxes the nerves and muscles

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Hopefully today you’ve learned some ways you can eat and drink your way to a good nights sleep. Just being aware of little things throughout the day can have a big impact on your ability to sleep better each night.

It’s the small things that can be the difference between dozing away nicely or stuck watching a House Hunters marathon at two in the morning.

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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