You may know the famous lines “We are such stuff as dreams are made on” and “We are what we eat.” Turns out Shakespeare and the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach understood that how we eat and how we sleep are secret weapons for our wellbeing. So it makes a whole lot of sense that our eating habits and our sleeping patterns are related, right?
If you want deeper, longer slumbers, you’ve got to pay attention to how you eat, especially before you hit the hay. In this article we’re sharing 3 helpful tips on how little changes to your diet can make a big difference in how you sleep.
Don’t overlook your diet
These days it seems like many of us lead busy lives that can often make it challenging to get adequate sleep and maintain a balanced healthy diet. The truth is skimping on sleep can lead to serious problems down the road like diabetes, weight gain, and long term mood disorders. Our eating habits can make or break our sleep cycles, so it’s crucial that we pay attention to our diets. It really boils down to good habits and ensuring you’re getting the right nutrients throughout breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sleep better with these 3 simple tips
1. Take stock of your habits
It may seem like a no brainer to avoid excess alcohol and caffeine and stop noshing 2-3 hours before bedtime. Some studies reveal you’ll also want to limit foods higher in saturated fats and sugars as they can lead to more disrupted and lighter sleep. Overdoing it with spicy or acidic foods can also lead to heartburn. While you should curb temptations to gorge on snacks, going to bed hungry could also invite hunger pangs. If your stomach is growling before bedtime, eat a small bowl of oats – not only is it easy to digest, it also triggers a small release of sleep-inducing serotonin.
2. Go big on key nutrients
Certain nutrients can help you get more of that quality shuteye. The Mediterranean diet features foods rich in sleep friendly minerals like melatonin, serotonin, and vitamin D. For a boost of sleep-inducing melatonin, sip a glass of tart cherry juice before bed. Eating kiwi fruit can also give you a boost of serotonin, a hormone that helps the body synthesize melatonin, which basically rules the entire sleep/wake cycle. Fish, nuts and seeds contain melatonin. Another sleep superstar is muscle-relaxing magnesium, which you’ll get in bananas, almonds, or a slice of whole wheat toast. Drinking herbal tea such as chamomile and ginger before bed can also help to calm your nerves.
3. Carbs (the complex kind) are your friends!
Researchers from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that more refined and processed carbs can increase the risk of insomnia. But, eating a diet rich in complex carbs has the opposite effect – helping you get more of that beauty sleep. The trick is to eat complex carbs throughout the entire day. So what are complex carbs anyway? Whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables are complex carbs rich in dietary fiber which has been found to promote more deep sleep. Snack on a few whole wheat crackers with peanut butter or some yoghurt and granola instead of that sweet or salty snack you might be craving late at night.
You owe it to yourself to feed your body with wholesome foods that will enhance your sleep and overall well being. Stick to healthy habits and nutrient rich foods to get a good night’s rest!