How to Get More Sleep: Part 4 Nutrition and Exercise for Sleeping Better
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How to Get More Sleep: Part 4 Nutrition and Exercise for Sleeping Better I’m going to start with nutrition. As I mentioned in part 1 when you are sleep deprived you tend to crave more food because your brain sends off a signal that it needs sleep. Your brain isn’t the only thing driving the hormones in your body for better or worse sleep-so is your gut. It is now considered your 2nd Brain.
It is suggested to avoid pesticides, processed foods (especially diet soda), over use of antibiotics, chemical food additives and preservatives, and chlorinated water. These things should be avoided completely not just before bedtime. Some foods listed in the book that you need in your daily nutrition to help with good sleep are nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, chicken, cremini mushrooms, oysters, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
To eat or not to eat before bed
It is suggested that you have a small snack before bed, but should be small. It should be a little carb with a little protein. Some good suggestions I have found are a little roasted turkey or chicken with a glass of milk, a slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter, or some cashews with dried cherries. I actually used to order a box of of dried Montmorency tart cherries of have them delivered every month from Amazon. They are a bit on the pricey size, but way better than the store brand. Even the kids really liked them. The last year or so I’ve been getting a Tart Cherry Juice concentrate and having just a little serving with water before bed. It is even known to help with aches and soreness or gout pain too. This stuff is super tart so it tends to last longer in my house since the kids like to grab the cherries and eat them by the handfuls.
If you would like to have some more ideas on what to eat before bed check out my other blog Before Bed Snacks for ideas.
Exercise to get better sleep
We all know exercise is good in many ways to our body and sleep isn’t any different. Exercise has been found to help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. There are a few reasons that getting exercise in the morning are better for sleep and overall health. First it is believed to help set a consistent wake sleep pattern and will help you to fall asleep faster. Morning exercise promotes the daytime hormones to kick in which give you more energy for your day. This is one of the big reasons I personally work out first thing in the morning. I feel more energy. It is also not suggested to get up at 3:00 am to work out either. This too will disrupt your hormones.
Exercising increases the temperature of your body which if this is done too close to bed time it will keep it too elevated to fall or stay asleep. Also exercise elevates our stress hormones which is not good to try to go to sleep on either.
What & How Much Exercise
You will start to see better sleep in the first few days of exercising, but the biggest benefits start to show up after a few weeks of consistent exercise. You don’t have to do long exercise to see these benefits either. As a matter a fact I don’t suggest long boring cardio sessions at all! You can get in a really good workout in 30 minutes or less. If you are currently not exercising just start out with 5-10 minutes each morning and when that becomes a habit increase your time or variety of exercise. Start with something you enjoy (or at least that you don’t hate) so that you don continue when time or other things get in the way. Just get your heart rate elevated! If you haven’t exercised in quite some time this can just be walking. If you want some tips on this don’t hesitate to reach out.
What does weight have to do with anything?
Sleep and weight either help each other or fight each other. If you are overweight it is harder to get sleep and if you can’t get good quality sleep you will more than likely gain weight. It is like a double edged sword. This quote in the book sums it up “Nutrient deficiency will lead to persistent overeating which will lead to poor sleep and poor overall health.” I feel today most of us don’t really need to worry so much about how many carbs vs fats vs proteins we are getting in any given day, because it is more than that. We are nutrient deprived. All of the processed and fast foods have pretty much stripped away all the things we need from food. Most importantly we need more real food in our daily life. Then start looking for things that will optimize our health.
Which one of these tips will you get started on first?
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Some of the ideas I have shared or will be sharing is from a book called Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. If you are interested in reading the book yourself just click on my Amazon affiliate link below.