8 Foods That Affect Your Sleep
We think we pretty much have the basics down for foods we should and shouldn’t eat right before bed. If we want to sleep well, that is. Coffee? Bad idea. Warm milk? Nice and relaxing. At least, this is what we’ve all been taught from childhood by our Mothers Dearest. But it turns out Mother might not always know best; there are a ton of other foods you can add and take away from your diet to get yourself a good night’s rest. Combine this with the yoga poses for insomnia and you have a better chance of being out like a light.
1. Good: Almonds
If you are trying to kick the dairy habit but want to get that magnesium lull of warm milk, almonds contain hefty doses of magnesium, tryptophan and melatonin. This makes it a perfect combination of ideal sleep-promoting aids. Try eating a handful an hour or so before bed.
2. Bad: Grapefruit
Ever had bad heartburn while you’re lying there in bed? Kiss the grapefruit goodbye; grapefruit increases your stomach’s acidity. If you’d like to avoid heartburn, keep away from grapefruits, oranges, lemons, or any acidic fruits and vegetables (including juices).
3. Good: Oatmeal
It’s normally thought of as a breakfast food, but the benefits of eating oatmeal before bed might change your mind. Oatmeal is full of plenty of sleep-promoting nutrients, like magnesium, potassium calcium and phosphorous. If you want to switch it up and make it a dessert, you can make a porridge, or serve your family some breakfast cookies.
4. Bad: Celery
While normally celery is a perfectly healthy selection, you shouldn’t munch on it right before bed. Celery has natural diuretic properties, which can be a pain when you’re getting up and out of bed every hour to use the restroom. Better to save it as an afternoon snack, instead. Throw ginger and parsley into this category, as well.
5. Good: Raspberries & Tart Cherries
You know melatonin is a great sleep aid, but did you know tart berries like raspberries and cherries are good superfood sources? It’s true! Go ahead and snack away on these fruits an hour before bed.
6. Bad: Greasy & Fried Foods
Surprise, surprise: people who eat fatty, greasy and fried foods in the evening tend to get less productive sleep than those who don’t. Your stomach is working extra hard to digest the stuff, and can lead to indigestion and heart burn. It’s fine to indulge in calorie-rich foods every once in a while, but try to do so at least 3 hours before you go to sleep to make sure it doesn’t cause issue for you later.
7. Good: Bananas
Say hello to plenty of potassium and magnesium! Bananas are an excellent late night snack and natural muscle relaxer. It also contains tryptophan, the same amino acid that gives turkey its famous sleep-inducing reputation.
8. Bad: Spicy Foods
Not only will you be possibly gassy in bed, but spicy foods take a toll on your gut. They also may impact your sleep. It’s best to avoid spicy meals right before hitting the sack.
Trouble Sleeping? Here Are 5 Ways to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm
Getting the proper amount of sleep can be a challenge, especially for those who travel often. Our circadian rhythms are a very complex balance between our internal clocks and the rotation of the Earth. The exact function of this hypersensitive, natural mechanism hasn’t been fully understood until recently and hopefully it can help shed some light on the issues that plague the sleep-deprived.
What is a Circadian Rhythm?
Last year, a team of scientists was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their work discovering the precise behavior of the proteins and genetic functions that regulate our sleep and waking patterns. The research of Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young uncovered a protein that accumulates at night and degrades throughout the day, signaling the secretion of certain hormones, such as melatonin which helps us fall asleep, and cortisol that helps us wake up. They made this discovery by studying fruit flies and found that every multicellular organism shares this same function to regulate a cyclical sleep/wake cycle.
Our circadian rhythms vary from person to person, meaning those who claim to be night owls and like to sleep in aren’t lazy, but are actually subject to a different circadian rhythm than those who rise early. Some scientists are calling the grogginess these people face, when forced to submit to society’s business hours, “social jet lag.”
The majority of us ascribe to a similar rhythm, based on the rising and setting of the sun, but even if you have an average rhythm, that cycle gets easily thrown off by a number of factors. In fact, most of us have an internal rhythm that is longer than the 24-hour cycle our society runs on, meaning our bodies must regulate our circadian rhythm on a daily basis to maintain that schedule.