Eating Well Sleep Better Tonight - What Is It? - We spoke with sleep expert Michael A. Grander, Ph.D., M.T.R. about specific ways to improve sleep duration and quality—starting with waiting an hour before your morning coffee.
Many of us have decided to *actually* sleep better because it works wonders not just for eye bags. Regularly getting the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours for adults, according to the Sleep Foundation) can improve our mental health, energy levels, immune system, weight management, and more.
Table Of Content
- How To Sleep Better at Night
- Waiting for your morning coffee
- Consider Intermittent fasting
- Avoid late night dringking
- Find a morning and evening routine that fits your lifestyle
- Does Eating Well Improve Sleep?
- What Should I Eat to Sleep Tonight?
- What Foods to Avoid If You Have Insomnia
- Last Thoughts
We spoke to Michael A. Grandner, M.T.R., Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, about what we can do to improve our sleep quality in the new year. He gives fascinating insights into how our daily lives affect our sleep. Here are his four tips on how to sleep better.
How to Sleep Better at Night
1. Waiting for your morning coffee
We know it can sting a bit — but Grandner recommends waiting an hour or more after waking up to drink your coffee for a real pick-me-up.
"A lot of people take caffeine first thing in the morning to help them 'wake up,' but it usually happens naturally," says Grandner. "We have a process called 'sleep retardation,' which makes us very sluggish as soon as we wake up. But if we get up and move around, that should go away pretty quickly, maybe 10 to 30 minutes. If you drink coffee right away, you You'll feel better, not because of the coffee, but because of the natural reduction in sleep inertia."
Grande also points out that caffeine takes 20-40 minutes to work, so using coffee as a pick-me-up is more of a placebo effect than anything else.Wait until late in the morning — around 9 or 10 a.m. — to pour yourself a cup of coffee, the same way you would shower and pack up in the afternoon, so it doesn’t interfere with your bedtime, he says.
2. Consider intermittent fasting
Not only will it help you get a good night's sleep with your late morning coffee, but it will also help you get a good night's sleep while you're waiting for breakfast. But it doesn't have to be as strict as some of the intermittent fasting techniques you may have heard of.
"There is evidence that we should limit our food intake to the 10- to 12-hour window between the first bite and the last," Grandner said.
While the popular intermittent 16:8 fasting method -- where you eat in an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours -- is very different from how most of us eat, it won't take much effort to adjust Your eating habits within 10 hours to 12 hours a day. That might mean eating dinner a little earlier than usual or closing the kitchen instead of relying on late-night snacks.Lisa Valente, MD, added, "That doesn't mean you have to wait until noon to eat your first meal.
"Most Americans eat late-night snacks -- and that's a problem for a number of reasons," Grandner said. "First, the foods we crave are often high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. This is especially problematic because calories in the evening are more likely to disrupt metabolic processes and lead to weight gain. In addition, heavy meals in the evening can cause reflux and may Interfering with sleep for other reasons."
3. Avoid late night drinking
A glass of wine with dinner shouldn't be a problem—it might even be healthy for you—but Graner recommends cutting alcohol before bed.
"Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it reduces the quality of sleep and can even cause light sleep and awakenings.This is more pronounced in people who are sensitive to the effects of alcohol or who drink more than 1-2 times before bedtime. "
Sound familiar? Our favorite wines often lull us to sleep, just give us a good night's sleep, or make us wake up much earlier than usual. It is best not to drink alcohol before going to bed, increase the amount of alcohol consumed at night early, and insist on drinking water before going to bed.
4. Find a morning and evening routine that fits your lifestyle
According to Grandner, a good night's sleep begins the moment you wake up. He recommends getting up and starting your day as soon as you wake up — no lying in bed or playing mobile games. Grandner's rule of thumb is that your bed should only be used for sleeping (and sex). It looks like the snooze button has always been the enemy in disguise.Keeping regular bedtimes is important to maintain the same circadian rhythm every day. In addition to waking up every morning, Grande recommends getting plenty of natural light and exercising when the day allows, and giving yourself time to wind down before bed.
"One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people don't take enough time to shut down. The busier we are during the day, the more time we need at night to relax and get ready for sleep."
Starting a healthy sleep routine might mean putting down your phone 30 minutes before bed and opening a good book instead of checking social media or email. You can also take some time to stretch while watching one episode of your favorite Netflix show—not five.
Does Eating Well Improve Sleep?
In general, a balanced diet (consisting primarily of a variety of vegetables and fruits) provides the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients that can help improve sleep while promoting a healthy weight.
What Should I Eat to Sleep Tonight?
There's no doubt that your diet can affect your sleep. "Sleep is a time of rest that allows your body to heal itself. However, if you eat too late before bed, especially spicy foods or foods high in fat, fiber, or sugar, your body may not be sending out the healing signals. Instead, use energy to burn food to digest what you eat," says Marci Hardy, Ph.D., a wellness expert at Brooklyn Bedding Company.
Start with breakfast and aim to eat a meal that contains complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains), protein, and some healthy fats. Just focusing on traditional breakfast foods — bagels, toast, sugary cereal, muffins — can spike your blood sugar, Hardy says. Glucose levels rise and then fall, affecting your energy and mood. When energy levels lag and your mood plummets, another sugar boost is often needed, which can send you on a blood sugar roller coaster throughout the day.
Another way breakfast and lunch can interfere with your nighttime sleep patterns is that "eating healthy, balanced meals throughout the day can help you avoid overeating later in the day," says Spiewak. This is important because large, fatty meals can tax your digestive system (your body is slow to metabolize fat) and can make you more prone to reflux and indigestion at night. If you're planning to eat a big meal -- or want something really spicy -- push it to lunchtime, when you have enough time in the day to digest and move around, says Hardy.
Ideally, at dinnertime, focus on preparing a meal that's well-balanced in carbohydrates, protein, fat and low in sugar, Hardy adds. Eat at least three hours before bed, she suggests.
What Foods to Avoid If You Have Insomnia?
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, avoiding certain foods and drinks can help. Research shows that caffeinated foods and drinks, added:
- refined carbohydrates,
- spicy foods,
- fatty foods,
- and alcohol can lead to poor sleep quality and shorter sleep duration.
How Can I Get Better Sleep Tonight?
Protect yourself from chronic inflammation.
- Exercise. A brisk walk every day will not only make you slimmer, but it will also help you sleep less at night.
- Reserve beds for sleep and sex.
- Stay comfortable.
- Begin the sleep ritual.
- Eat - but not too much.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Relieve pressure.
- Check yourself out.
Consistent sleep and wake times are needed for good sleep. Additional measures include exercising daily, avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic drinks two hours before bed, developing healthy sleeping habits like not sleeping in a dark room and wearing loose clothing, and eating a diet high in vitamins.
Caffeine and alcohol seem to play an important role in the quality of our sleep, and tweaking your morning coffee or nightcap are two easy steps you can take to improve your sleep. Plus, creating a sleep schedule with a simplified morning and evening routine can seem daunting at first—especially if you work irregular hours or have a family with different sleep schedules to worry about—but research shows it’s beneficial for us as a whole. There are some significant benefits to have for health.
When intermittent fasting, it's important to find a diet that really fits your personal lifestyle. If you tend to eat late at night or have a similar routine, eating within the 12-hour window might be a good option, but don't beat yourself up if you eat dinner an hour or two late. Focus on feeding your body healthy foods, as many nutrients, such as magnesium, help regulate your sleep.
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