After a day in the sun, you will likely be ready for a good night’s sleep. But, did you know that certain foods can also play a role in the quality of your sleep?
All food we eat has an effect on our health in some form. The brain is highly affected, for better or for worse, by nutrition. Some foods help boost your brain activity and energy level, while others help you get a restful night’s sleep.
Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic, so your brain isn’t so busy. Tryptophan is also used by your body to make melatonin, which helps you sleep restfully.
At the end of the day, focus on eating foods with high levels of tryptophan and healthy carbs because they will help calm your brain, rather than make it more active. These foods are also referred to as “snooze foods”. For a restful night’s sleep, shoot for an early evening meal and a before-bed snack comprised of snooze foods.
Here is a list of some snooze foods to store in your kitchen for when you need to wind down at night:
Lighter meals at night are more likely to give you a restful night’s sleep. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake! It is best to eat your evening meal early and have a small before-bed snack, if needed.
If you’re ready to eat better snooze foods, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule your pantry makeover – the first step to a healthier you. Want to learn more about making healthy eating choices? See a full calendar of my workshops in your area!
Recipe Butternut Squash Lentil Soup
Makes: 2-4 serving
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery stalks, diced
4 tablespoons curry powder
8 cups vegetable broth
5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
2 cups chopped butternut squash
3 carrots, sliced
2 ½ cups dry lentils (any color)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for about 3 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook; the vegetables should stay a little firm so they maintain more of their nutrients.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sleep Tips to Get the Rest You Deserve
1. Eat a snooze-food snack before bed.
2. Do not do strenuous exercise within the hour before you go to bed, though a few simple relaxing stretches are fine.
3. Limit phone calls, email or exchanges that might be stressful right before bed.
4. If your mind is still “busy”, try some white noise like waterfalls or mountain rain. You don’t need to buy a special gadget, iTunes has many options!