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Food and sleep

Posted by Brenda Doherty on March 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm
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If you are skipping breakfast, forgetting to have lunch, downing a beer or wine when you get home from work, tucking in to a big dinner and then struggling to get a good night’s sleep – it’s time to blow away the dust of old, unproductive eating habits.

Eat your way to better sleep

Study results published January in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine show that greater fibre intake supports the slow wave deeper stages of sleep and that eating saturated fats  and sugars is associated with lighter, less restorative and more disrupted sleep.
Research article: http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=30412

Good fibre intake includes
All whole grains, legumes, carrots, apples, pears, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, quinoa, legumes, flax seeds, chia seeds.

The bad unsaturated fats
Cut back on – butter, cream, beef, pork, lamb, processed meats such as sausages, salami, cheese, chips.  Not all fats are bad. Eat the good saturated fats such as vegetable oils, avocado, olives, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackrel, trout, herring).

Good sugars
Are contained in fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains – get plenty of these.

Bad sugars
Cut back on – those candy bars, cakes, processed foods with ‘added sugar’, refined sugar.  If you need sweetening up then use raw or cane sugar, maple syrup.

Simple changes can have big results.

food.and.sleep.change

Enjoying the flavours, the naturalness and power of knowing you are waving goodbye to sleepless nights by changing your food habits can start right now.

1. Rolled oats – The best breakie ever.

No need to cook the oats.  Just pour some boiling water over the oats, go and have your shower and the softened oats will be waiting for you on the kitchen bench.

Scatter in some chopped fruit and ground flaxseeds and chia seeds (instead of grinding your coffee, grind the seeds), all topped with some skim yoghurt.

SPECIFIC SLEEP TIP:
Have a small serve of warmed rolled oats (1/4-1/2 cooked cup) with a little milk before bedtime.
Oats are a slow digesting source of carbohydrate and helps you sleep through the night by keeping your blood sugars stable.  They also contain L-Tryptophan (see 3. below).

2. Bananas – Packed with goodness the humble, plentiful banana can work magic for your sleep.

Loaded with potassium and magnesium (muscle relaxants).  Also the amino acid L-tryptophan supports serotonin/melatonin balance (see 3. below)

SPECIFIC SLEEP TIP:
Have a small chunk of banana an hour or so before bedtime with a small glass of milk (warm or cold milk).
The L-Tryptophan in the milk gives further support to your ‘sleep biochemistry’

3.  Get more L-Tryptophan foods in to your diet – L-Tryptophan foods will go a long way to boosting your Zzzz’s.

L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid i.e. can only be obtained via your food.

L-Tryptophan helps synthesize melatonin (a hormone that directly supports sleep) with the support of the neurotransmitter serotonin (known to improve mood).

L-Tryptophan foods include:
milk and dairy products, soy milk and soy products, oats, turkey, dried dates, brown rice, nuts, eggs, seafood, sesame, chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, spirulina, bananas, and peanuts.

Happy eating, happy sleeping.

Brenda Doherty

 

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