Have trouble sleeping?

Take a look at your bedtime snack.

Ah sleep, how you evade even the best of us. Ask any of your friends and you're bound to find most, if not all suffer from poor sleep. The obvious disadvantage to this is we walk around like zombies, ready to snap at anyone who looks at us the wrong way. We find we can't think clearly and our memory is shot.

There are other hidden monsters that come out when you aren't getting enough shut-eye. You can become overweight because of decreased growth hormone (GH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and increased cortisol, most notably in the evening.  A lack of sleep also elevates your sympathetic nerve activity and results in slow insulin response.

Getting less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night also means that you’re at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death than your pals who get plenty of snooze time.  Also, with the weight gain that could come with minimal sleep, you’d likely see insulin resistance (IR), glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.

So give me some good news. Ok here it is - check your bedtime snack. Eating certain foods will help you dive into a nice, well deserved bout of sleep. Some of these foods include:

1. Yogurt:

  • High in protein but not heavy in your stomach, yogurt is a good choice if you eat dinner early, or get really hungry before bed because it will help stave off midnight cravings

2. Chicken or Turkey:

  • If you've ever had the turkey nap after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, this can be a no-brainer. Tryptophan is the agent at work here and it helps tap into melatonin which is related to helping us fall into solid sleep.

  • Eating protein before bed also helps to regulate blood sugar, unlike sweets and starches so you won't crash through the night which could actually wake you up.

3. Almonds:

  • These beauties are full of magnesium which helps to relax your muscles and improve sleep cycles. They also contain tryptophan which we already saw increases the production of melatonin.

  • They also contain niacin which helps reduce anxiety and stress!

4. Sweet potatoes:

  • These guys are high in potassium and magnesium which help us relax and in turn, help us repair and restore because we're able to get into some deep sleep zones.

There are of course some bad choices:

1. Pizza:

  • Tomatoes are acidic so they can cause heartburn and possible GI upsets, plus it's a lot of food to consume right before bed so it's not going to do your waistline any favours.

2. Hot & Spicy Foods:

  • Although these foods contain capsaicin which helps ramp up your metabolism, you don't want this late at night because it will also increase your body temperature which could keep you up.

3. Rice:

  • Rice has a high glycaemic index which can disrupt our sleep by shortening it quite a bit.

Read on for more information and more options.

#healthyhabits #livingwell #sleep #goodfoods


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