Health

5 Wellness Tips to Improve Your Sleep and Boost Your Health

5 Wellness Tips to Improve Your Sleep and Boost Your Health

Sleep and rest are crucial for overall well-being, affecting every aspect of our lives. Despite this, lots of people suffer from poor sleep quality, leaving them feeling groggy and drained during the day, and what’s worse, having poor health as a consequence.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep quality naturally and promote relaxation, and one of them has to do with your nutrition. 

The link between nutrition and sleep

Nutrition and sleep are extremely linked, each influencing the other in profound ways that impact overall health and well-being. The foods we consume play a crucial role in regulating sleep patterns and quality.

Not only the food we eat has a great impact on our sleep, but also the eating hours affect as well. Eating a large meal right before going to bed can be detrimental to your sleep quality. It is important to have the last meal at least 3 hours before going to sleep to allow the body to fully digest the food and not compromise sleep or other functions. Also, having balanced and nutrient dense meals throughout the day supports stable blood sugar levels, which helps regulate the sleep-wake-cycle.

When we talk about food we have to also keep in mind beverages, especially sugary beverages or caffeine (or any other stimulant) beverages. Keep in mind that those affect immensely our sleep quality and REM phase and can cause insomnia or poor sleep quality. This is why it is important to limit alcohol intake, and also sugar and caffeine intake if you want to have a good night's rest. Try not to have any of those, at least, a few hours before going to sleep.

Some nutrients and dietary patterns can either promote or hinder sleep. For instance, foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin and melatonin (hormones that regulate sleep), can aid in falling asleep and improving sleep quality. You can find tryptophan in dairy products, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and poultry. On the other hand, consuming heavy or large meals close to bedtime can disrupt sleep by causing discomfort and interfering with digestion.

Another key thing to keep in mind is that the quality and duration of sleep (especially REM and deep sleep) has a direct impact on dietary choices and metabolic functions. Our body runs a lot of processes while we are sleeping. This is why sleep deprivation alters the production of hormones that regulate appetite, which can lead to increased cravings for high-calorie and sugary foods. Also, it affects insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, which can potentially contribute to weight gain and some metabolic disorders over time.

5 Nutrition related tips to Improve Your Sleep

1. The impact of magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays several important roles in the body, including supporting muscle and nerve function, regulating blood sugar levels, making it a natural protector against diabetes, and maintaining healthy bones and immune system function. Importantly, magnesium also has a significant impact on sleep and overall well-being. 

Magnesium helps reduce muscle tension, anxiety, and stress. Muscles recover during the night, aiding in waking up more rested and energetic. It helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep, which promotes relaxation. It also assists in the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake-cycle. 

Some magnesium rich foods are, dark chocolate, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, seafood, legumes, and whole grains.

2. Benefits of consuming healthy fats before bed

Consuming healthy fats before bed can support better sleep by providing sustained energy and promoting satiety, which helps prevent nighttime awakenings due to hunger. Fats like those found in avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish, also aid the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins that contribute to overall health. Additionally, they help stabilize blood sugar levels preventing spikes and crashes that could disrupt sleep patterns.

3. How protein intake can stabilize blood sugar overnight

Eating enough protein throughout the day can stabilize blood sugar overnight by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates consumed during meals. When paired with carbs, protein helps mitigate the rapid rise in blood glucose levels by promoting a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. This prevents sudden spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels, which can disrupt sleep. Additionally, consuming protein-rich foods before bed helps maintain a steady supply of amino acids through the night, supporting muscle repair and growth while regulating metabolic processes. This balance contributes to more stable energy and promotes restful sleep.

4. The role of certain herbs and teas in promoting relaxation

It’s known that certain herbs and teas like chamomile, lavender, and valerian root contain compounds that promote relaxation by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain. These substances have calming effects, reducing anxiety and stress levels. Consuming herbal teas infused with these herbs before bedtime can help induce a sense of relaxation, aiding in better sleep quality.

5. Surprising foods that can boost melatonin production

As we’ve previously mentioned, tryptophan is an essential amino acid that serves as a precursor for serotonin and melatonin, the hormones that regulate mood and sleep. Among the foods rich in tryptophan we have dark chocolate, turkey, chicken, milk, yogurt, cheese, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, chickpeas, salmon, cod, and tuna.

Try to incorporate these foods into your diet in order to increase the availability of tryptophan to the brain, and potentially aiding in the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin to support sleep and mood regulation.

Other tips that will help you Sleep Better at Night

Aside from nutrition, lifestyle, some habits, and stress levels can also affect your sleep. Here are some tips to also implement into your daily routine to improve your sleep:

    • Have a night time routine: Having a consistent night time routine will help your brain understand when it’s time to unwind and relax. Set an hour to go to bed and go to bed at the same time everyday of the week. A few hours before your bedtime, you can have a simple routine every day to help you relax. For example, taking a warm and slow shower, changing into your pajamas, having a relaxing tea, reading, etc. This routine can also include eating 3 hours before going to bed, to have enough time to digest your diner and have a restful sleep.
    • Reduce caffeine intake: If you’re having trouble sleeping, we recommend you to reduce your caffeine intake. Try to limit your intake to only one caffeinated drink per day or at least, no caffeine past 3:00 pm.
    • Increase daylight exposure during the day: Spending time in natural sunlight or bright light during the day, especially in the morning, helps your circadian rhythm which will help improve your energy during the day and your sleep quality during nighttime.
    • Workout regularly: Getting regular physical exercise improves sleep and health and can help reduce symptoms of insomnia. Just remember to exercise hours before going to bed.
    • Try meditation or breath work before bed: Meditating or doing breathwork before bed can lead you to a relaxation state needed to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. It can help your mind from wandering. You can also try journaling before bed, to give a physical space to your thoughts and let them out of your mind.

Integrating these nutrition and lifestyle strategies will help you improve your sleep patterns, your sleep and your overall health and wellness.

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