Whenever you’re well-rested, you know the difference it makes. The number of hours of sleep you get can either make or break your day and your health.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep, no matter how early you go to bed, especially as you grow older. There were times when I lacked a healthy rest, luckily I learned some things about getting a night of good sleep through simple dietary changes, and now I can boldly say it’s infrequent that I don’t get a night of restful sleep.
Almost 70 million Americans have sleep problems varying from chronic insomnia to sporadic sleep disorders. Studies show that our memories, productivity, and even the ability to continue a simple conversation can be affected by a single night of inadequate.
Being that I’m a writer, researcher, and philanthropist, having several radio weekly interviews, I don’t have the luxury of not being at my mental peak, and you probably can’t either. Lasting sleep deprivation can have serious consequences such as an increased risk of high blood pressure, decreased immunity, depression, obesity, heart attack, and diabetes.
Getting sufficient sleep should be a huge part of your health program as adequate nutrition and physical exercise. Luckily, you get to improve the quality of your sleep by making some adjustments to your diet.
Consuming more plant carbohydrates, like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and beans, can have a substantial effect on your sleep. These foods contribute to a gradual, steady increase in blood insulin and help the amino acid tryptophan penetrate the brain.
Found in turkey, Tryptophan is believed to be responsible for the appearance of grogginess after Thanksgiving dinner—it produces serotonin. This neurotransmitter causes drowsiness and improves mood. This also justifies why, before going to bed, a glass of warm milk enhances sleep by providing a dose of Tryptophan while inducing insulin secretion.
Another way to improve your sleep by changing your diet is to do away with any consumables that can interrupt sleep. Caffeine, which can be found in some teas, soda, chocolate, and coffee, can disturb sleep if you take it within four hours or sometimes six hours of going to bed.
Alcohol can instigate tiredness, but sugar metabolism can interrupt your sleep and raise body temperature. Also, eating sugary foods just before bed can increase your body temperature and make you restless all through the night.
Indirect nutrition can also influence your sleep. For example, if you’re obese, you’re likely to suffer from sleep apnea and its symptoms—heavy snoring and interrupted breathing.
Consuming many refined starches (white flour and white rice) and simple carbohydrates (sugary treats), which causes blood sugar levels to rise and fall, can imbalance the hormones regulating metabolism, disrupting the natural rhythms of the body and consequently interrupting sleep.
You may not have to completely change your diet to take advantage of the benefits of good sleep, but even a few minor amendments taking these tips into account can be helpful. You will not only improve your sleep with the changes you make but also your general health.
Research corroborates that eating plant-based foods to maintain health, prevent disease, and improving immunity is very important. You aren’t losing anything by making these adjustments — apart from your sleep problems.
With Gratitude and Love