Health & Fitness

Not Getting Enough Sleep? It May Be What You’re Eating.

Some may think that sleeping is overrated, that was especially true for me in my university days. I used to survive with hardly any sleep and had enough energy to study and socialize. Nowadays I have learned the hard way that not getting enough sleep takes a toll on my body and how I function daily.

Adequate sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle as it not only helps the body and brain but also helps slow down the aging process. Some of you however, have a hard time sleeping and have probably tried counting sheep countless of times. Did you know that what you eat before you go to bed can have an effect on how you sleep?

Here are the foods to avoid before going to bed:

  • Spicy Foods- Foods heavy with spices can trigger heartburn, especially once you are lying down. You may also find it hard to fall asleep because spicy food also changes your body temperature which can also confuse the brain since your body temperature naturally dips closer to bedtime.
  • Caffeine– Sure, this may be an easy one to know, but did you know that caffeine stays in your system hours after drinking? It is recommended to drink caffeinated drinks only in the morning or before noon.
  • Fatty Foods– Comfort foods like pizza and burgers may not be a good idea to have so late in the evening. Greasy foods will likely cause stomach issues once you are lying down thus making it uncomfortable to go to bed.
  • Alcohol- You may get a little sleepy drinking a glass of wine before you go to bed and although you are able to fall asleep easier, staying asleep would be the battle. Alcohol can prevent the body from falling into the REM sleep cycle which causes you to wake up the next morning not only feeling tired but also with dark under eye circles as the indicator of not getting good sleep!

Here are some foods that can actually help you sleep better:

  • Turkey, Soy Beans, Pumpkin Seeds and Walnuts– The amino acid, tryptophan, which can be found in turkey, is well known for causing everyone to nap after the Thanksgiving dinner!

But it can also be found in several beans, seeds and nuts. So if you are not in the spirit to cook a full turkey – go for a handful of walnuts – and have a good night sleep!

  • Cherries– This small fruit is one of the few natural sources of Eating a handful or drinking concentrated cherry juice can help people struggling with sleepless nights.
  • Leafy Greens, Avocado and Almonds– For those with restless or aching legs at night , these foods are rich in magnesium which aide in relaxing the muscles and promote a better sleep.

Making changes to your evening diet can make a huge impact on not only your sleep but your overall physical and mental health. Just add a little bit of exercise and you’ll be sleeping like a baby!