Your Guide to Healthy Eating for a Better Night’s Sleep
I woke up like this! How healthy eating can help improve your sleep quality.
Sleep, sleep, sleep. The world might disagree on a lot of stuff, but EVERYONE loves sleep! Have you ever heard someone say “Gee, I wish I didn’t have to sleep so much…”? Nope. Everyone wants more of it, and some of us really NEED more of it. But how do we attain that idyllic weeknight of blissful Zs?
Fluffy down pillows, cozy blankets, and a mattress suited perfectly for your spine are all great places to start. When it comes to MAX comfort and sleeping, we are here for it! But there are also other, more scientific ways to wake up feeling rested.
Did you know your sleep quality has lots to do with your food quality? That’s right. Sometimes it’s less about what time you put on your PJs, and more about what time you’re eating throughout the day, and especially WHAT you’re eating.
When you bless your bod with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, your brain activity is healthy, too – which means better sleep. Research shows poor sleep patterns have been linked to worse diet quality, eating more food overall, and higher rates of obesity, and metabolic diseases.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help you explore a path to cleaner eating with a healthy diet that will set you up for a lifetime of AMAZING nights of sleep. We’re aiming for food that’s high in nutrients and low in carbs and fat, to help improve our sleep quality. Give these tips a try, and hopefully soon you’ll be rising and shining, rested and ready to take on the world!
1. Chillax on the caffeine.
It’s bedtime. You wash your face, brush your teeth, slip into bed, and then pound an entire energy drink because WOO!! IT’S TIME FOR SLEEP BABY! Okay, obviously going crazy on caffeine before bed isn’t the best idea. Caffeine blocks the chemicals in your brain that tell your body to sleep, keeping you #WideAwake. But did you know that caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for up to six hours? That means your afternoon coffee break might be keeping your mind buzzing at bedtime. So go ahead and start your day with a cup o’ joe, but when you hit that afternoon slump, try a refreshing glass of water instead. We like to give our H2O a zing with this Lemon Chillers recipe.
2. Don't get too spicy too late.
We’ve got hot sauce in our bags, and we put it on pretty much EVERYTHING. Many of us here on the goodNes Crew LOVE spicy foods. However, when we’re trying to sleep, it’s harder for our stomachs to digest heavy foods that are spicy or acidic. And indigestion? Heartburn? That’ll make it difficult to relax and drift off to dreamland. Lying down even makes heartburn worse. So if you’ve ever been guilty of that late-night spicy chicken burrito run, remember it might be better to save the burritos and hot wings for lunch, rather than a midnight snack, so you can drift off to sleep worry-free.
3. Choose Good Bedtime Snacks
A key to a good night’s sleep is a happy tummy. You don’t want to be stuffed to the brim with food, and you also don’t want your stomach growling at you all night long. We recommend lighter snacks before bed. Foods with tryptophan or melatonin are great because they have chemicals that will help your brain drift to sleep. These are foods like bananas, berries, nuts, honey, or a glass of milk. Drinking tart cherry juice has also been shown to help older adults with insomnia. One nighttime snack we enjoy is a few spoonfuls of this Overnight Chia Seed Pudding.
Happy stomach, happy sleep.
4. Go bigger on breakfast, lighter on dinner.
Everyone’s bodies are different (and fabulous, we might add). But generally, if you eat a mountain of meat and taters right before bed, it might disrupt your sleep. Bigger meals are more taxing on your digestive system and can cause heartburn or insomnia, especially if you’re a fast eater. It’s recommended that you wait for 2 to 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime. If you happen to eat late, maybe take time to prep tomorrow’s lunch before drifting to sleep.
5. Take a raincheck on nightcaps.
Say you’re on a business trip. It’s been a long day of Powerpoint presentations and schmoozing, and you’re ready to hit the hay. Your coworkers invite you out to the bar for one last nightcap. BAD-SLEEPERS BEWARE. A glass of red wine can make you drowsy for sure, but research shows it can also make sleep a struggle later on. The booze will help knock you out quickly, sending your body straight to #DeepSleep mode earlier than normal. Then, your sleep cycle rebounds and your brain lingers in lighter sleep stages the rest of the night. This explains why some people feel more tired after a night of drinking. Good news: you don’t need to totally kick the dranks! Just drink in moderation and not too close to bedtime.
6. Understand sugar.
We were hoping sweets wouldn’t be on the list of no-no foods, yet here we are. While oh-sotasty, they can be not-so-good for your sleep. Overeating foods with added sugar will give you a boost of energy, and then CRASH! You’re ready to crawl under your desk and take a nap. Riding a rollercoaster of energy might tempt you to pour an extra cup of caffeine, or sneak in naps or meals at irregular times – all of which can affect sleep. If you’re like us, sugar makes you super happy. But you know what could make you even MORE happy? A good night of sleep, that’s what! And that well-rested MOOD will be yours all day. #YAS.
7. Stay on top of your H2O game.
You need water, girl! Not only will it keep you healthy and make your skin glow, sipping H2O on the rocks will keep you looking and feeling like a refreshed goddess, even on a sweltering hot day. Just how it impacts our functioning during the day, it can also impact your body while you sleep.
For example, if you haven’t had enough water, your mouth and nose might dry out (can you say snore city?) which can prevent you from getting into that deep sleep. Dehydration also makes you more likely to get leg cramps. OUCH. That’ll wake you up. This doesn’t mean you should chug a gallon of water before bed (another reason to wake up in the middle of the night.) Our tip is to make sure you’ve always got the 3 Ws throughout your day: Wallet, Water bottle, and a Winning attitude.
Alright kids, that’s it. Remember: you can get better sleep when you try to eat healthy, drink healthy, and watch what you eat and drink before bed. If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, try some of these tips out! Experiment to see what might be impacting your body, and let us know which ones help you the most. Do you have any other ways to you help yourself get a beautiful night’s sleep? Share with us using #ThankGoodNes for #Sleep!
– The goodNes Crew