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.
Over the long term things begin to get a bit different and constant stress hormone exposure can lead to things like:
- Heart disease
- Irritability and anger
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.
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.
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
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.
By: Jamie Logie