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Eat Well, Sleep Well

Eat Well, Sleep Well

Do you feel like you need a bucket of coffee to stay awake? If you’re perpetually exhausted, you may want to consider clocking in more pillow time. Quantity of sleep is important, but so is quality of sleep. If you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep, your sleepless nights may be attributed to what you’re eating. Stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, and follow the tips below to improve the quality of your sleep.

Here are a few things to avoid that may affect your sleep cycle:

Caffeine - This is fairly obvious, but even consuming caffeinated drinks early in the day can affect your sleep. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try to avoid it at least eight hours before bedtime.

Overeating - Avoid overloading on food before bedtime. A light snack maybe consumed, but a large meal can lead to digestive discomfort and keep you awake.

Fats - It’s best to avoid eating an excess of fats in general, but especially before bedtime. High-fat foods can lead to heartburn and indigestion, which may disturb your sleep.

Alcohol - A tiny amount of alcohol may actually help you sleep, but overall alcohol will fragment sleep and worsen insomnia. Alcohol can also dehydrate your body, so you will feel more tired the next day.

Here are a few foods that promote sleep:

Milk - A warm glass of nonfat milk can help the restless get some much needed rest. Milk contains tryptophan, which helps increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a natural sedative that can help ease you into deep slumber.

Protein - Consuming adequate protein throughout the day and at each meal can help regulate hunger and satiety hormones. These are the same hormones that can get out of balance when we don’t get enough sleep. Think eggs or cottage cheese at breakfast; yogurt or almonds for a snack; and beans, lean meats, chicken or fish for your other meals.

Cherries - When consumed regularly, cherries may boost the body’s natural supply of melatonin -- a hormone that is part of the sleep-wake cycle.1 They are also rich in antioxidants so you get other important health benefits besides good sleep. The next time you make a smoothie, throw in a few frozen cherries.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep can promote weight loss, but what can you do if you’re restless and unable to sleep through the night? Eating healthy food and adding exercise into your routine is a great place to start. Be sure to check out the tips above to do your part to improve the quality of your sleep!

1. The National Sleep Foundation. Cherry Juice Could Affect Your Insomnia. Available at: Accessed July 19, 2013.