Ok, so this week we will discuss which foods can help and hinder sleep.
We will also touch on HOW we eat and what time we eat and how this will affect our ability to reach the land of nod and stay there!
Foods to eat:
- L-Tryptophan foods – quick science lesson – tryptophan gets converted to melatonin, that lovely sleepy hormone that was want to be highest in the evening
- Walnuts, bananas, fish, legumes, lentils, oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, cottage cheese, beef, beans.
- High calcium foods – calcium has a calming effect on the nervous system and works in combination with magnesium to relax muscles (those muscles cramps you have at night might be due to calcium or magnesium deficiency, or both)
- Dark leafy greens (spinach, salad green mix, kale), almonds, broccoli, egg yolk (please eat the whole thing!), blackstrap molasses, sardines, soybeans, turnips.
- Magnesium – There aren’t too many people around who wouldn’t benefits from a magnesium boost! Magnesium place a role in nearly every cellular function in the body and is vital for sleep.
- Almonds, barley, cashews, cocoa, figs, molasses, parsnips, soybeans, wholegrain cereals, kelp, eggs, pumpkins/sesame seeds.
- Folic acid – Not just important for pregnant ladies!
- Eggs, dark leafy greens, lentils, barley, organ meats (PLEASE invest in organic – do you want to eat a liver that has been filtering al ton of chemicals?).
Have you noticed the overlap? There are so many reasons to eat whole foods!
What to Avoid:
- Going to bed with a full tummy – By eating a couple of hours before bedtime you give your body a chance to rest and repair.
- Every time you put food in your mouth, you switch your body into stimulating mode – wonderful during the day, and when you want to digest your food, not so great when you want to rest.
- Avoid a low fat/high carbohydrate diet – research has shown it reduces REM sleep (remember we discussed what REM is?).
- Eliminate/Reduce sugar intake* – Sugar plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, disrupting hormones and impairing sleep and sleep quality.
- Before, you ask, yes, that does include the ‘healthy’ substitutes** for sugar (coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, etc, etc.…. they seem to be never ending now).
Of course, this is the basics of a never-ending list of dos and don’ts. Please remember that individualised care is ALWAYS the way forward with your health, but employ these tips and you are off to a great start!
*if you can tolerate cow milk, please invest in organic, you really don’t want to know how a lot of the cows that provide you with milk are treated, which, of course, leads to you drinking their antibiotic filled milk. Yuk.
** This is a bit of a bug bear for me, I will be discussing it is an upcoming blog. ‘Healthy’ sugar substitutes are very popular at the moment, again, we will cut through the rubbish to see what/when/how and how much!