Eat Better, Sleep Better

     How much sleep you get can make or break your day and also your health. Read on for some tips for how to get a better sleep by some simple changes to your diet.

     Eating more plant carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, can have a significant impact on your slumber. These foods help to produce a gradual, steady rise of blood insulin, helping the entrance into the brain of the amino acid tryptophan, a neurotransmitter that helps induce sleepiness and improve mood. (This explains why a glass of warm milk before bed can help to improve sleep, as it provides a dose of tryptophan while also inducing a release of insulin.)

     It’s important to eliminate the foods and drinks that can disturb sleep. Caffeine—found in soda, coffee, some teas, and chocolate—will interfere with sleep if you ingest it within four hours of bedtime—sometimes even within six hours. Alcohol can cause drowsiness, but metabolizing the sugar can disrupt slumber and also cause body temperature to rise too much. Sugary foods eaten right before bed can also raise body temperature and leave you restless during the night.

     Diet can also indirectly affect your sleep. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to experience sleep apnea and its symptoms of heavy snoring and interrupted breathing. Eating a lot of simple carbohydrates (sugary treats) and refined starches (white flour and white rice), which cause blood sugar to spike and fall, may cause an imbalance in the hormones that regulate metabolism, disrupting the body’s natural rhythms and thus disrupting sleep.

     It may not require a total makeover of your diet to reap the benefits of good sleep, but even some minor adjustments with these tips in mind can be helpful. The changes you make will not only improve your sleep but your overall health. There’s nothing to lose in making these changes—except your sleep troubles!

Tina Turbin

Posted in Advice, Children's Author, healthy eating, Helpful Tips, moms, women
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