Can’t Sleep? Eat Healthier
In the back of our minds, we know there is a connection between the food that we eat, and how we sleep, but more often than not, we ignore it.
You’re trying to meet deadlines.
You’re driving your kids to and from school, practices, doctor’s appointments or whatever else comes up.
And, many times there’s just not enough time to eat properly.
Therefore, you grab whatever we can, whenever you can — this usually means a lot of non-nutritional food and/or drinks during the day, or at night.
This of course can cause you to gain weight or develop ‘problem’ areas as well as contribute to a poor night’s sleep.
If you’re trying to watch your weight or need to lose weight, you probably don’t realize that if you don’t get enough sleep or suffer from insomnia you’re likely to gain weight. According to studies at the Mayo Clinic, lack of sleep can cause your hormones to change which in turn causes you to crave those extra high carbs and high calorie junk foods.
One of those hormones is cortisol and it can cause you to feel even hungrier than normal. Produced in your adrenal glands, this important hormone helps ward off internal threats to your body; like stress, or lack of sleep.
The response to these stressors is that cortisol will ramp up blood pressure and increase your blood sugar level so it can feed your body to help you get through stressful situations. At first this decreases your appetite, but as your body settles down from whatever physical or emotional stress factor it was presented it will hang around to balance you.
It signals hunger in your body so you’ll put back the carbs and fat that were previously depleted – which usually means foods that aren’t the healthiest.
If you’re not getting proper exercise and the right amount of sleep, the amount of cortisol produced will continue to increase and turn into a vicious cycle.
Foods To Avoid
Even if you’re going to be up late working on a deadline, or catching up on laundry or other household chores – you’re still going to have to go to sleep at some point.
Trust me, I know this can be difficult.
Especially when you give in to a craving — one night last week I was working throughout the night and instead of my usual healthy snacks, I ate pretty much an entire bag of Lays Chile Limon potato chips and iced coffee. I really was only going to eat a handful. So I basically broke my following suggestions:
A few hours before you know you’ll be going to sleep try to avoid the following foods:
Excessively salty foods – excess salt in the body will make your kidneys work to get rid of the excess salt and this can cause those extra trips to the bathroom at night.
Tea, coffee, or soda – all these drinks have caffeine and for many, caffeine can wreak havoc on your kidneys and your nervous system by stimulating them. Unless you have an extremely high metabolism (like yours truly), you need to stay away from it before you go to sleep.
Spicy and greasy fried foods – can cause heartburn and discomfort.
Healthier Foods You Should Eat For Better Sleep
=> Foods that contain magnesium significantly helps relax muscles in the body. Foods that have magnesium include black beans, salmon, almonds, dark leafy greens, most grains and seeds.
=> Raw honey is not just good for losing weight but it also promotes sleep. Combined with low-fat yogurt, this makes an ideal and healthy snack before going to bed.
Yogurt contains calcium which relaxes muslces and helps produce melatonin in the body. By adding fruit like blueberries or raspberries you’ll also give yourself an antioxidant boost!
=> Whole grains crackers, bananas, watermelon, and low-fat cheese are also great snacking choices for better sleep.
A bedtime staple of mine is taking B6, Calcium, and Magnesium. It almost always works like a charm.
We all know that a good night sleep is very important to keep us health. When we have enough sleep, we can perform and function better throughout the day.
The majority of us, especially single work at home moms, take sleep for granted because we think there are more important things to be done like work. While of course this is true, we need to realize that by depriving ourselves of much needed rest and sleep at night will only make us less functional the next day.
That’s why it’s essential that when you’re pulling those all-nighters to eat healthy snacks, and get a little nap in during the day. Don’t feel guilty for taking those daytime naps or taking time out to eat because it’s *that* important to your health and well-being.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, please let me know below!