Sleep. Who needs it, besides just about every living thing on this planet? You, that’s who.
And you deserve the best quality of sleep you can get on all levels, in all ways.
Why? Because you’re worth it. Even though we don’t know you and will technically never meet you in person, we value you and your valid need for a good night’s rest.
But getting better sleep isn’t just as simple as plopping down on your bed and trying to doze off after that second glass of wine you had between putting the kids down to sleep and that second late night rerun of Frasier you were busy Facebooking through. If only it were that simple.
Allow us to give you a piece of advice. The big secret to getting a decent amount of shut eye really lies in taking care of yourself, sleepyhead.
If that sounds hard, challenging, maybe even time consuming to you–get over it. It’s really not that hard to change your habits. And when you do, you’ll be a happier, brighter, energetic person with an impressive “bed head” hairstyle to boot.
What’s one of the most habitual things you do? Eat. And guess what? You are what you eat, but your beauty rest depends on how and when you eat it.
Without further ado, it’s time we share with you the 5 steps on how to eat your way to a better night’s sleep – and we’re not talking food comas here, either.
Don’t eat (a lot) before bed.
See? We told you we weren’t talking about food comas. Before you go to bed at night, wait at least two to three hours after you eat so your digestive system can have a breather and adjust to the food that you just stuffed it with.
But if you’re one of those people who feels a bit peckish before they turn in for the night, it’s okay to have a light snack, such as apples, crackers, or cereal with milk. As long as you’re not scarfing down three pieces of lasagna with a side of chili cheese fries and a slice of German chocolate cake for dessert, you should be good.
Eat carbs for dinner.
Did you know eating carbs reduces cortisol, the dreaded stress causing hormone? Well it does, and that’s important to keep low if you want good sleep. Carbs release another hormone – insulin – which counteracts the effects of cortisol, which is known to keep you up.
Starchy vegetables, fruits, grains are the carbs you’ll want to eat for supper, not processed foods like cookies and ice cream.
Don’t drink coffee or alcohol after a certain time.
Bet you didn’t know that coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that makes you wired for hours, did you? Oh, you did? Well then why are drinking it in the evening?! Don’t you know it’s going to seriously set back your sleep cycle? Sheesh.
Coffee and bed? Morning combo only!
And alcohol. That’s a depressant. It shortens your time spent in slow wave sleep, leading to lots of waking up in the middle of the night wondering what you’re doing with your life. So stop. Just stop!
By the way, did you know that hangovers are made up of a cocktail of symptoms like sleep debt, sleep inertia, and daytime sleepiness? In our opinion, it’s not worth it.
(Note: nicotine isn’t exactly helpful in this instance, either.)
Avoid spicy foods and drinking too much water.
Freeze! Put down the bottle of sriracha. Acidic or spicy foods can cause heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), for some, and other gastrointestinal dramas for others. These conditions are known to wreak havoc on your sleep cycles. So, y’know, cool it with the chips and salsa when the sun goes down, capiche?
Drinking a lot of water might sound like a great idea for your health – and it is – but it’s not going to help you catch Zs at the end of the day. Why? It’ll make you get up in the middle of the night and pee. And that, folks, can be really annoying.
The moral of the story: drink water throughout the day, but don’t chug a whole gallon when your about to put your PJs on. That’s just asking for trouble with a capital “P”.
Exercise during the day to lose weight.
Surprise! This doesn’t have to do with eating per se, but when it comes to taking care of yourself, working out or hitting ye old NordicTrack is essential. You’ll read about this health tip in almost every article online ever, and for good reason.
In the context of the one you just so happen to be reading right now, exercising at some point during the day will help you make that much needed rendezvous with Mr. Sandman when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie (that you should eat three hours before bedtime, remember).
Here’s to the best night’s sleep of your life–for the rest of your life! Goodnight!
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