Are you someone who rejoices as daylight stretches longer into the evening? Or do you find it more difficult to get out of bed mornings when skies are dark? Maybe a little of both?
It’s no coincidence that this week is Sleep Awareness Week! As we prepare to lose an hour, let’s spend a minute to learn more about the connection between good nutrition and rest.
You know how you just KNOW when you are eating and sleeping well? Those beautiful times when we wake refreshed and have the energy to sustain ourselves all day long. There’s a little spring to our step! We feel we can accomplish almost anything!
Together, sleep and nutrition are a one-two punch toward optimal wellness.
Before we offer tips that provide us a two-fer – better nutrition AND improved sleep – what exactly IS a good night’s sleep?
Most adults should aim for seven to nine hours. That’s just a ballpark though. As we get older, some of us find we actually are ok with less sleep, while some maybe need a bit more. It’s a good suggestion to try not to dip below six hours.
Quality is as important as quantity. Our optimal sleep includes three to five cycles of REM and non-REM.
5 Tips for Better Nutrition and Sleep
Fiber is Your Friend. A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine reported that more fiber intake predicted more time spent in deep sleep. In another study with more than 12,000 participants, those with the best sleep habits also had the greatest fiber intake. The recommendation is 25g of fiber per day for women and 38g for men. With 5g of dietary fiber, Perennial Daily Gut & Brain is an easy and delicious way to amp your fiber intake.
Put a Cherry on Top. Enjoying tart cherries or cherry juice is a great before bedtime ritual. Not only are they a great source of fiber (see tip above), vitamin C, and potassium, they also are a natural source of melatonin, a natural sleep-aid.
Trip on Tryptophan. Catch some Zzzzs with Magnesium. In addition to melatonin, tryptophan and magnesium have been shown to aid sleep. Consider including these foods throughout the day, particularly your evening meal. Tryptophan can be found in tofu and soy products and seeds; magnesium is in nuts, seeds, legumes, spinach, and soy.
Limit these Libations. Try to minimize alcohol and caffeinated drink consumption to a minimum in the evening.
Snack Smart. For best sleep, experts usually recommend we eschew a hearty late-night chew. But, if you are feeling snacky, the best choice is complex carbs with a little bit of protein: a small bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with almonds; a thin slice of whole-wheat toast with a smear of natural peanut butter; a soothing mug of warmed Perennial Daily Gut & Brain Vanilla with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Complex carbs release serotonin and are easy to digest.