By Alane Stieglitz, ND, CNC
Let’s Get You a Good Nights Sleep
We tend to burn the candle at both ends, which leaves us sleepy during the day. Always trying to get a good night’s sleep, but the demands of work and family can sometimes hinder our sleep schedule. One thing we can always control is what goes in our mouths starting in the morning meal.
Getting more protein for breakfast can help you curb evening cravings and help you get improved 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 two eggs, avocado, berries for breakfast, a salad with 4oz protein and sunflower seeds for lunch, hummus and peppers for a snack, and a protein, mixed veggies cooked in olive oil for dinner. Some scientific studies suggest that the calorie deficit could also disrupt standard sleeping patterns because of its effects on the balance of neurotransmitters in your brain.
Here are three other foods to avoid for a good 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 essential way caffeine close to bedtime can cause disrupted sleep. It might surprise you to hear, but caffeine has an even more substantial influence on melatonin suppression than bright light. This is also a critical way caffeine affects your sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. 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 ability for you to get a good nights sleep. Alcohol often leads to more waking throughout the night and lessens the time spent in REM sleep and slow-wave sleep in the latter 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 nights sleep might be taking a quality melatonin product. I use a 3mg timed-released melatonin 20 minutes before bed. Also helpful is having a satisfying and nutritious snack 30 minutes 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 is essential to keep your cortisol levels and hormones balanced to help you get a good night’s sleep. Curious about your hormone balance? A simple hormone and cortisol 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.