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Why What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

Jun 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM Chime in now


by Lianne Phillipson-Webb  

Want a better night’s sleep? Check your diet! There is a true connection between good sleep and a healthy diet.  Having balanced blood sugar, the right nutrients available from food, and avoiding stimulants all help when trying to get a good night’s sleep.
There is a rhythm to daily energy and mood patterns that are run by your blood sugar balance.  Adults commonly feel tired, lethargic, low concentration, dizzy and maybe even get headaches when a meal is skipped or when they to get by on carbohydrate based meals.
Here are a few tips for better nutrition habits that will lead to a more restful night.
Eat Regularly

Your day can look like; breakfast 8:00 am, snack 10:30 am, lunch at 1:00 pm, snack 3:30 pm and then dinner at 6:00 pm.  If your eating pattern doesn’t look like this, then think of how your energy level is all day long.  Crashing in the afternoon? Want to crawl under your desk for a quick nap after lunch?  Change a few things around and follow this time line and see how you feel.
Was that a bagel for lunch?  

The carbohydrate value of a bagel is equal to four slices of bread.  It’s a heavy load giving you a boost of energy to be followed by a slump.  If you’re committed to the bread choice, try half a bagel with tuna, salmon or other protein rich topping.  
High on nutrients, low on refinement

It’s the brown versus white scenario.  The less a food is processed, the more it retains its nutrients.  Although breakfast cereals have added vitamins and minerals (they’ve been added after processing strips them out), it’s mandatory that they’re added, and aren’t naturally occurring as in steel cut oats made into oatmeal.  

When eating nutrient packed, unrefined foods, your body benefits from vitamins, minerals, co-factors, proteins, carbohydrates, and everything else it needs to function.  A diet deficient in whole grains (rice, whole wheat, oats), fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat and fish will leave gaps in our daily needs.
Supplement before sleep

Calcium and magnesium, for instance, are calming minerals and very important for good quality sleep.  Taking supplements at bedtime sometimes helps your overall sleep pattern as deficiencies may upset sleep causing waking during the night or taking a long time to fall asleep.
Don’t caffeinate after lunch

Have you experienced the negative effects of caffeine?  Drinking a coffee late in the day or after dinner can keep you up for hours as you wait for that kick to wear off.  Make the switch to herb tea or an antioxidant rich green tea.  Although green tea naturally has caffeine, it’s a lower amount to coffee.  
Cut out the late night snacks and drinks

Studies show eating at night slows down your detoxification overnight and leaves you feeling less rested when the alarm goes off. Cut off for your last bite is 8:00 pm.   
Start to improve sleep patterns by improving your diet.  They go hand in hand.  Think of the benefits… feel great all day long as well as get a good night’s sleep.  Sounds heavenly doesn’t it!  

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