Eating smatter can help you improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. You have higher chances for a satisfactory sleep when you follow the right diet plan. Eating healthy foods improves your digestion and calms your nervous system.
Here are a few tips on healthy diets that will improve your sleep
Pay attention to the amount of coffee you take
Caffeinated food and drinks make you feel more alert. Taking coffee or cola will keep you awake for up to six or seven hours. This means you won’t be able to sleep for most part of the night.
Caffeinated drinks also increase your adrenaline making you active and energised. When you have high adrenaline increases, your body temperature and blood pressure increase. You may start feeling sweaty and irritable. Ultimately, you will find it hard to relax in this type of conditions and therefore you will be unable to sleep.
You have to stay up past witching hours until the effect of caffeinated drinks wear out. What is witching hour? It may refer to any time between midnight and 3 am. Limit your caffeine intake, especially during afternoon and evening hours. Ensure there is plenty of time, more than six hours, before your last caffeine intake and sleeping time.
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Avoid spicy or fatty foods when it is too close to bed time
Most people use spices in their food for health benefits like helping indigestion, inflammation, lowering blood sugar and weight loss, but they are not aware of how much damage spices can cause. Some herbs like peppermint, sage and parsley are thought to reduce sleeplessness. Heavily spiced foods have a lot of protein and fat and they require a lot of digestion time.
Going to bed after eating large portions of spicy food is a recipe for disaster. We require at least 3 hours before our bodies completely digest the food on our stomachs. Your stomach will most likely use the energy for digestion instead of allowing the brain and the rest of the body to rejuvenate.
Your stomach produces acidic hormone to help in digestion of fats and protein. When mixed with spices, they create or worsen heart burn. Heartburn makes you feel irritated, painful and restless which keeps you from sleeping
Your hydration levels can affect the way you move, feel and function on a warm or hot day. Lack of fluids in your system can make you feel tired, irritable and lacking energy. Going to sleep while dehydrated can affect your sleep. Dehydration causes your trachea (mouth and nasal passages) to dry up. A dry mouth may lead to snoring.
Lack of fluids in our body may also cause cramps that may keep you up for most of the night. Being dehydrated at night can keep you awake, or disrupt your sleep and this may compromise your ability to concentrate and your cognitive performance on the next day.
Go heavy on the breakfast and spare you stomach during dinner
Eating large quantities of food before going to bed can affect your sleep negatively. Large food quantities taken over short periods of time will take your body a much longer time to digest. This may not apply to everyone because our digestive tracks work differently.
We have to be careful about what we put in our stomachs before sleep. if your sleep is not disrupted by huge dinners, there is no need to change your eating habit. If you think that your sleep may be affected by what you eat, then it’s time to change a few things.
You have to be careful about eating too much before going to bed. Prevent acid reflux by taking your meal early so that the food will have been digested when its time to sleep. Take heavy breakfast and light dinner. Taking most nutrients for breakfast is convenient, your stomach will have all the time it needs to break down the heavy nutrients.
Snack wisely before bed
While it is not ok to go to bed on a full stomach, going on an empty stomach may be just as bad. Empty stomach keeps you awake and may be a gateway to acid reflux. Snack on foods that are naturally rich in melatonin. They promote sleep by increasing the effect of the melatonin that is naturally occurring in your body. Such foods include; dairy products, poultry, sea food, nuts, legumes and vegetables.
Reduce your alcohol intake before bedtime
Alcohol and wine have a short time effect of making you drowsy and reducing the time you need to go to sleep. Most people with insomnia or sleeping disorders use alcohol as a cure for their sleeplessness. What they do not know is that this cure is temporary and will fade over time.
Regular use of alcohol to help you sleep may be dangerous in the long run. For one, you may develop an alcohol dependency. Alcohol is also one of the major causes of several parasomnias. They include sleep walking, nightmares and sleep talking. Alcohol may allow you to fall asleep quicker and more deeply, but it reduces rapid eye movement (RAM) sleep. RAM happens 90 minutes after we fall asleep, it is responsible for restoration of the brain.
Alcohol may help you induce sleep but is more disruptive during your sleep. When you take alcohol before bed it is likely to affect your blood pressure, sugar levels and digestions
Avoid too much sugar
Sugar affects our diet directly. Too much sugar during the night will boost your energy levels fast, and then quickly crush. This leaves you feeling exhausted without any energy to spare. Remember, you need the energy in your sleep for various processes like blood flow and cell regeneration.
Energy surges may lead you to turn to caffeine, food or alcohol for a little energy boost. These foods, as we have discussed, are unhealthy and may contribute to sleeplessness.
A good diet is important for a good night’s rest, which is mandatory for optimum body functioning. These guidelines will help you achieve the best diet possible, and consequently improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.