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

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

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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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