Sleep can sometimes be hard to come by. Energy surges at the wrong time and simply not feeling tired at the right times. This is especially frustrating when you have a long day ahead of you. While we have all been in these situations before what we don’t realise is that sometimes the restlessness we are experiencing can be down to simple things we are doing during the day. Nutrition plays a key role in sleep and relaxation.
Calming food before bed
There are certain foods that we can eat that will help relax the mind and body and promote peaceful sleep. Most foods will do but I have found small snacks with a bit of natural sugar can help – think a banana or a tea with honey stirred in. Sugars have a cortisol lowering effect – Cortisol is our stress hormones and should be at its lowest in the evening to allow for peaceful sleep.
On top of this I have found that going to bed hungry or dissatisfied can also stop restful sleep – Do not hesitate to have a small snack before bed.
No Stimulants after 1PM
Or none if you are sensitive – This means Coffee, Black/Green Tea, Guarana, Yerba Mate, Ginseng and Chocolate. Many people have a stimulant sensitivity they are unaware of, and therefore many people can solve their sleep problems simply by cutting down on stimulating herbs and caffeine. This is usually as simple as cutting out on coffee but can also include stopping tea and chocolate which are both stimulants in their own right. Saying this some people are fine with caffeine in the morning and it is the afternoon shots of espresso that hinder sleep – no coffee or stimulants after lunch is a good rule of thumb for anyone.
Less meat at dinner/evening
I have found that red meat at dinner time or in the evening can have a pretty stimulating effect. After all red meat is known to get the blood and adrenaline flowing – Since cutting out red meat in the evening or seriously reducing the portion size I have found that sleep is far more peaceful. Having a meat free dinner every now and then can not only be economical but help you get creative in the kitchen and sleep better. Some vegetarian meal ideas…..
Try and base meals on the following in the evening: Beans, Rice, Whole Grains and some fish or dairy. Having a lighter meal in the evening can also help you sleep.
Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
Have a hot drink
In the evening after eating – This will not only promote digestion but calm the stomach and promote restful sleep. Stick to caffeine free varieties like peppermint, red bush and chamomile tea. I also like Slippery elm bark for its calming properties and how it acts to repair the gut while you rest.
Mineral Rich Food
Some people find that upon introducing natural and mineral rich foods into their diets that sleep issues disappear. Some of the best are Blackstrap Molasses and Sea Salt. Both of these are rich in many of the minerals we lack most in our current diets, especially magnesium which calms and relaxes the muscles. Other mineral rich foods include vegetables like Okra, Cucumbers, Zucchini, and Bananas.
Give these things a try before resorting to sleeping pills or other means to a better nights rest. I have seen countless people who complain about sleeping badly and pretty much all of them consuming too many stimulants or eating the wrong things at the wrong times. Often big problems can have quick and easy fixes.
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