By Alane Archer, ND, CNC
Let’s Get You a Good Night’s Sleep
We tend to burn the candle at both ends. Always trying to get a full night sleep, but the demands of work and family can sometimes hinder that schedule. One thing we can always control is what goes in our mouths starting in the morning.
Getting more protein for breakfast can help you curb evening cravings and help you sleep. And making sure your diet is balanced, without added sugar can give you the Zzzz’s you need at night. A daily diet may include 2 eggs, avocado, berries for breakfast, a salad with 4oz protein and sunflower seeds for lunch, hummus and peppers for snack and a protein, mixed veggies cooked in olive oil for dinner. Some scientific studies suggest that the calorie deficit could also disrupt normal sleep patterns likely because of its effects on the balance of neurotransmitters in your brain.
Here are three other foods you can avoid for a great nights sleep:
1. Caffeine– Having a coffee early morning trying to wake up? The best time for a caffeine boost is around 10 am any earlier, and it won’t last as long as you desire. Caffeine suppresses melatonin. This is one key way caffeine can disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycle. It might surprise you to hear, but caffeine has an even stronger influence on melatonin suppression than bright light. This is also an important way caffeine affects your sleep-wake cycle. The effects of caffeine last in the body for several hours. It can take from 6-8 hours for the stimulant effects of caffeine to be reduced by one-half.
2. Alcohol- Alcohol consumption, in excess or too close to bedtime, diminishes the quality of sleep, often leads to more waking throughout the night, and lessens time spent in REM sleep and slow wave sleep in the later part of the night, the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep.
3. Simple Empty Carbs- Sleep deprivation disrupts hormones that regulate appetite, according to some recent studies. Being low on sleep increases feelings of hunger, a result of imbalances in the levels of hormones ghrelin and leptin, which work to regulate appetite. Fast digesting snacks – lots of sugar- no fiber or protein, can lead to cravings even after you are full from dinner.
Strategies for getting a good night’s sleep might be taking a quality melatonin product (we like 2mg timed-released), having a satisfying and nutritious snack before bedtime (a little chicken and almond butter for example), and keeping your bedroom dark – with phone and tablet screens turned off. One of the worst night sleeps for me is when I work late at the computer, answer a few text messages and then climb into bed. It does not work. The energy from the screens has disrupted the cortisol and hormone levels in my body. I try very hard to stop ALL electronics at least 1 hour before time to go to sleep.
It important to keep your cortisol levels and hormones balanced to help you get a good nights sleep. Curious about your hormone balance, a simple test will help you learn what to do!
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Medical disclaimer: Our tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.