WHAT TO LOOK FOR...
Magnesium is essential for relaxing both our minds and bodies. Research shows that most individuals are not getting the daily recommended amount of magnesium. Foods that are high in magnesium are bananas, avocados, nuts, dark chocolate, beans, spinach and broccoli or you can take a Magnesium supplement.
Calcium is synergistic with magnesium. They work together to relax muscles. Sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like kale and collards, citrus fruits, nuts, fish like sardines and salmon, and dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
Tryptophan is important for the production of serotonin in the body. It’s key to brain function and plays a role in healthy sleep. Tryptophan is found in dairy, nuts and seeds, bananas, chicken, turkey, soy and eggs. Foods that contain tryptophan are most effective if eaten alongside carbohydrates, like whole grain crackers and almond butter.
Melatonin, 5-HTP and Vitamin B
Melatonin promotes falling asleep and is helpful for jetlag when taken just before the new time-zone’s bedtime, 5-HTP, the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, is relaxing and helps sleep for some people. Vitamin B has been shown to increase dream recall and vividness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with better sleep. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardine), seeds (flaxseeds and chia) and plant oils (flaxseed oil and soybean oil).
...AND WHAT TO AVOID
Too Much Sugar
Sugar is very stimulating and causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels that can affect sleep. It’s best to eat high-quality sources of sugar and carbohydrates in fruit, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn and peas, and in whole grains like oats, rice and quinoa. It’s also important to balance them by eating with protein and healthy fat.
An excessively large meal will disturb sleep. Anything that gives you indigestion will result in more awakenings. Some people find spicy foods do this and others find trouble with high-fat meals.
Alcohol can cause sleep disruptions and inhibits REM sleep, which is thought to be the most restorative. If you want to have an alcoholic beverage and also get good sleep, I recommend having it early in the evening. Think happy hour instead of nightcap.
Caffeine includes chocolate, coffee and some sodas. It counteracts the chemical adenosine, which inhibits brain function and makes us sleepy. A general rule of thumb is that you should stop consuming caffeine by two in the afternoon.”
One of the most important benefits of a good night’s sleep is energy for the next day’s workout. If you’re ready to get going on your fitness goals, we’ve got you covered.
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