Start Following a Good Sleep Diet Today
You may not have heard of the good sleep diet – but that’s because it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Yes, there is a type of diet you can and should be following if you want to get better sleep. But it’s not all about what’s on your plate. It’s a series of lifestyle choices you need to follow if you want to make quality sleep an important priority in your life.
First, Get Yourself on a Regular Sleep Schedule
One of the most important circles in the good sleep diet – even more important than your plate – is your clock. Your internal clock especially is very important when it comes to getting a healthy amount asleep when you need it. And if you want to sync your internal clock with your daily schedule, you need to stick to a regular sleeping schedule. Otherwise, you may leave yourself tossing and turning at night, failing to sleep at all, and always feeling tired the next day.
It’s not just the schedule where you rise with the sun and sleep in the evening, either – it’s the schedule around how your feed yourself which also plays an important role. The past few decades have shoved this idea down people’s throats that eating little to nothing in the morning and a big dinner in the evening is the healthy way to eat. This is SAD – the Standard American Diet – and it is exactly what the acronym implies. Take a look at the checklist below and make a mental note of which ones apply to you:
- Do you eat a small breakfast each morning, if you eat one at all?
- Do you skip lunch often, usually in favor of grazing on small snacks throughout the day?
- Do you eat a large meal late in the day, sometimes within an hour or two of your bedtime?
Doing any or all of these things are likely causing problems with you getting enough sleep. But there are ways to change your habits in order to conform to a good sleep tight. Those, according to science, are:
- Take your meals like an upside-down pyramid and eat most of your calories in the morning
- Polarized eating can confuse your body, making it hard to sleep at night – so don’t skip lunch!
- Swap your eating habits between your breakfast and your dinner – eat the fewest calories in the evening instead of at night
- Do not eat a single crumb of food if you are 2 hours away from your bedtime or less
- Nighttime snacks are only allowed if it is absolutely impossible for you to sleep on an empty stomach
We understand that nighttime discomfort can be a huge source of sleep distress. If you do need a late-night snack in order to calm your stomach, keep it very small and very simple. A glass of warm milk with a banana is a good example; it provides you with both the protein and the natural, complex carbs that you need to unlock the sleep hormones in your body.
If you sit down and think about it, this upside down pyramid strategy makes more sense than eating the other way around. You’ll get most of your calories in the morning when you need to fuel your body the most. You can ride those calories out during the day and taper off in the evening when you don’t need energy because you’re getting ready to sleep. This can also help you lose weight because if you burn through your daily calories earlier in the morning and afternoon, you won’t have very many calories to store as fat when you go to sleep in the evening.
A Good Sleep Diet Includes Good Sleep Hygiene
A good sleep diet, if you’re looking at the big picture, is a small but essential part of overall good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the name for the series of events you go through in order to perfect your bedtime routine. We plan on releasing a much more detailed post on sleep hygiene in the near future. But until then, start small with these tips:
- The blue light from your electronics can sabotage your sleep because it stops your brain from producing melatonin – so turn off your electronics right before bed
- Sleeping in a cooler room helps signal your body that it is time for bed; but we wouldn’t recommend anything below 68 degrees, or whatever you can afford on your energy bill
- You can use certain things like blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out all the problematic ambient light; this light can also disturb your circadian rhythm at bedtime
We’d also like to add that manufactured sleeping drugs can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, too. Sure, they feel like they help. But they also make physical changes to your brain which causes many problems when she tried to stop using them. And even if you get off them successfully, the long-term damage will compromise your natural ability to get high quality sleep. so don’t do it! Go for a natural sleep aid instead.
The “Diet” Part of the Good Sleep Diet
Eating a diet that is also healthy for your sleep is actually fairly simple. It’s all about adding more healthy foods and cutting out the unhealthy ones from your meals. We’re sure we sound like a broken record when we say that you need to eat more whole foods from the produce section of the grocery store; but the reason everyone is repeating that sentiment over and over again is because it’s true! The more fresh, whole foods you eat, the more nutrients you will get. And the more nutrients you have circulating through your body, the easier it will be for your body to produce sleep hormones like melatonin when you need to get your rest.
When it comes to unhealthy foods, what should you cut out? Simple carbs, processed grains, and processed fats. Basically, anything that comes out of a box, a bag, or a can should be kept to a minimum. These foods are very light on nutrients, which interferes with your ability to produce sleep hormones. Furthermore, they’re abnormal molecular structure causes toxic build up in your system. This toxic buildup can eventually travel to your brain and make it difficult for you to feel sleepy when you should.
We hope you’ve gleaned a lot of valuable information on a good sleep diet from reading this article. Keep checking back for a follow-up about the bad sleep diet, and ways to avoid it.