If you’re looking for ways to get a good night’s rest, I’ve got some great eating tips for better sleep that can help! What, when and how we eat can seriously affect the quantity and quality of sleep that we get. Some foods can help us nod off to a dreamy night of sleep whereas other foods can have us up for hours feeling restless or just plain tired all the time. Check out these eating tips for better sleep to get the most out of your meals and bedtime!
1. Be Consistent
When you’re talking about eating tips for better sleep, don’t undermine the power of eating meals consistently. Skipping a meal and making up for it later with a big meal might seem like an easy way to cut calories and time, but it can really mess with your body! Be consistent with when you eat and how much you eat. Eating an extra-large meal after going hungry for hours ends up stimulating your system rather than calming it.
2. Curb Caffeine
This is an obvious tip to eat for better sleep, right? We all know that too much caffeine can cause us to stay up late watching informercials. The funny thing is, as much as we all know we need to curb caffeine as the day wears on, we keep drinking it to keep us going. If you really want better sleep, cut the caffeine at noon and stick with energizing foods like nuts or citrus to help you power through the day!
3. Eat Early
Eating early might mess with your social calendar but it’s an important eating tip for improved sleep! Eating too close to your bedtime can make it hard to go to sleep. Dietitian Joy Bauer says that eating and then lying down slows down the digestive process and sends stomach acids into your throat, causing acid reflux or indigestion which can keep us up.
4. Go Natural
We all know that eating processed foods is bad news, but when we’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s sometimes a necessary evil. One good reason to pare down the processed foods is to get a better night’s rest. Processed foods often contain loads of sodium which can dehydrate you and raise blood pressure. Try to eat whole foods as much as possible to eat for better sleep!
5. Cue the Carbs
Carbohydrates are often the enemy of most people who are watching their weight but they're important nutrients for good sleep! Carbs from plant foods or whole grains are a healthy and delicious way to slowly raise your blood insulin, which helps the amino acid tryptophan enter your brain. Tryptophan is known to help create serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter related to learning, mood and sleep.
6. Avoid Alcohol
This next eating tip for better sleep suggests that you cut back on the number of alcoholic drinks you consume. Many people rely on alcohol to help them unwind, and while it can help you relax and feel drowsy, it often causes disrupted sleep. Dr. David Katz of Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center says that metabolizing the sugar from alcohol can lead some to overheat and result in an restless night of sleep.
7. Don’t Cut Too Many Calories
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be limiting the number of calories you eat. Controlling portion sizes to lose weight is okay, but if you cut too many calories, you can end up messing with your sleep! Dietitian Susan Moores says that eating under 1,200 cals can seriously limit nutrients needed for good sleep and can cut the time you spend in slow-wave sleep cycle, which is needed for the repair and recovery of muscles.
8. Go Herbal
If you’re looking for a way to relax after a long day, try sipping on a cup of herbal tea. Chamomile tea is a fantastic tea that can help calm you and get you in the mood to hit the hay. Other great choices are valerian tea or Sleepytime tea from Celestial Seasonings. Herbal tea is a healthy alternative to alcohol and can help you drift off to sleep faster!
Many times we think of food as merely something we eat when we get hungry, but food can also be thought of as medicine and fuel. Eating certain foods can affect your mood, sleep and health, so we want to be mindful of what and how we eat! Do you have any of your own eating tips for better sleep?