Does good nutrition help you sleep better?
Is better nutrition key to getting a good night’s sleep? There may be a lucky few who can fall asleep mid-sentence, but for the rest of us who dread going to bed every night, nutrition is something we should pay attention to. Not being able to sleep can drive you nuts. There is no worse feeling in life than when you can’t fall asleep, while those around you are snoring away to glory. That’s Loneliness!
In any case, you can hardly ignore an activity you spend roughly a third of your life doing. Sleeping well is living well. To live well, you should eat well too.
Is one born with the gift of sleeping well or do other factors like food, lifestyle and environment play a role in determining the quality of sleep?
How much sleep should you really need? The Age-based Sleep Chart tells you the right way to do it!
Does nutrition affect your quality of sleep?
Everyone has a different sleep pattern, and we all need to sleep differently. However, regular exercise and the right nutrition in your diet can improve the quality of your sleep.
You should aim to have at least 30g of protein in your meal, and aim for at least 30g of healthy fats. What food should you eat? Here are some general guidelines:
1. Eat antioxidant rich food
Fruits and vegetables are antioxidant-rich foods, and can help you to stay alert. Their iron content helps your body absorb the iron it needs to be healthy. Your immune system plays a key role in your sleep patterns. A lack of antioxidants can compromise your immune system and make you fall sick more often. Vitamin C, found in lemons, tomatoes, oranges, and sweet potatoes, boost the immune system.
2. Balance core body composition
Lack of sleep can cause your muscles and joints to get weaker and more brittle, putting you at a greater risk of getting injuries. It can also cause joint pain. A healthy diet and regular exercise can keep your muscles strong and flexible. As you age, you should consume a diet rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
– Omega-3 fatty acids: They improve the function of your immune system and your sleep. Sources: Walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, green leafy vegetables and beans. Non-vegetarian sources: Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and mackerel.
– Omega-6 fatty acids: The omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help your body to produce more dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and depression. Sources: Nuts, seeds, soybeans, and olive oil. Non-vegetarian sources: Meat, poultry, fish and eggs.
To keep your muscles strong and flexible, you should balance Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in your diet.
3. Adopt a protein-rich diet
Protein can help to keep your muscles strong and you don’t need to count the calories as this type of food is so satiating. Add beans, nuts and lentils to your diet to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try adding milk and soy products to your diet. Non-vegetarian sources: Chicken, fish, eggs.
What food to avoid?
Good food and good sleep have a direct relationship. Don’t we all struggle to keep our eyes open in school or at work after a good lunch? However, certain food can come in the way of a good night’s sleep.
1. Food with high levels of histamine
Research suggests that a diet high in histamine can cause people to wake up a lot during the night or wake up in the early morning. What to avoid: Alcohol & shellfish.
2. Caffeine-rich food
Caffeine can keep you awake at night. Reducing your consumption can help your body to naturally produce enough melatonin (a hormone) to help you sleep better. Reduce your intake of chocolate, black tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, and energy drinks.
How much sleep do we really need?
Sleeping between 6 and 8 hours per night is ideal for most adults. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep can lead to loss of ability to focus, loss of memory, and irritability.
So what’s the magical number? Varies from person to person. The Age-based Sleep Chart tells you exactly how much sleep you need. The deciding factors include:
– Work schedule: People who keep irregular hours may require more sleep.
– Exercise and physical activity: People who exercise regularly may need less.
– Other factors: Illnesses, medications and age.
It is essential to sleep seven hours a night in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Having enough sleep isn’t enough – your sleep quality is just as important.
The Age-based Sleep Chart
Are you sleep deprived?
The connection between sleep and mental health is close, with sleep disorders contributing to depression and anxiety. Also watch out for Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you sleep.
In addition to insomnia, inadequate sleep can also result in the following:
– Drowsiness during the day
– Irritability and mood swings
– Trouble focusing
– Increased appetite
– Weakened decision-making ability
– Dark undereye circles and lustreless skin
Does alcohol help us sleep better?
It’s a misconception that drinking reduces stress and helps you sleep better. Alcohol DOES NOT help you sleep better. In fact, it’s a depressant and makes your physical and emotional health worse. You don’t need no alcohol to sleep better.
If you need a good reason to stop drinking for good, just do exactly that for a week. You will notice the following changes, almost immediately:
Day 1: You sleep well because you are not dehydrated
Day 2: You wake up fresh and stay fresh through the day
Day 3: No more bad breath or lack of appetite
Day 4: No more irritability
Day 5: A lot more cash at your disposal
Day 6: A sense of wellbeing and harmony because you are spending more time with your family
Day 7: Congratulations! Your quality of life and of sleep can only get better from here.
Good sleep & good nutrition equates to good life
Sleep is important for our bodies to allow us to heal and recover. It energises you and a lack of it saps you of it. And you end up eating more food because your body needs energy. You don’t have to eat a lot if you are eating right.
Just to drive home the importance of sleep, humans are the only species that goes to bed when they should be awake and vice versa. This behaviour has not been observed in any other species, and therefore goes against the laws of Nature.
So make sure you get your quota of sleep and nutritious food.