By Deane Alban
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are setting yourself up for memory and concentration problems, inability to handle stress, and depression.
When you are sleep deprived, it’s natural to try to make up for your lack of energy by eating more and drinking caffeine to get through the next day. But this sets you up for another bad night’s sleep, and on it goes!
Here are the best diet tips that will break this cycle and give you the best chance at getting some decent sleep.
10 Food Tips for Better Sleep
1. Don’t go to sleep on a very full stomach.
2. Don’t go to sleep on an empty stomach either.
3. Don’t starve yourself during the day. This leads to indulging in the evening.
4. Avoid caffeine from 5 pm on.
5. Avoid alcohol after dinner.
6. Have an evening snack, but make it small and not immediately before going to bed.
7. Eat cherries, one of the few food sources of the sleep hormone melatonin. When not available fresh, you can buy frozen cherries or drink cherry juice.
8. Having healthy carbs in the evening can help create tryptophan, a relaxing hormone.
9. Herbal teas like chamomile can help you relax, but don’t drink too close to bedtime.
10. Start tapering off on all liquids a few hours before you retire to avoid night time bathroom visits.
Sleep Promoting Snack Ideas
Evening snacks should include some healthy carbs and a little protein. You want foods that are easy to digest and not overly fatty or spicy. You don’t want them to just sit there, or worse yet, cause indigestion when you’re trying to sleep!
Some examples of healthy sleep-supporting evening snacks are:
• Apple and cheese
• Hummus and raw veggies or rice crackers
• Sprouted grain toast with cherry jam and almond butter
• Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit
• Guacamole with healthy chips or veggies
• Fruit and whey protein smoothie
Additional Tips for the Morning After
When you have a bad night, resist the temptation to get through the next day on caffeine and sugar.
Here are some healthier ways to cope the following day:
• Drink green tea, which has much less caffeine, instead of coffee.
• Stick to a healthy diet even when you feel like eating junk food.
• Skip anything with “energy” on the label. Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar. Energy bars are candy bars in disguise.
• If at all possible, take a nap but keep it short. A long one will have you up at night. Again.
• Meditate. This is as good as a nap and will leave your brain much refreshed.
• When you feel like you just can’t stay awake, take a walk, exercise, or stretch instead of reaching for the coffee pot or a candy bar.
• Try to stay up until close to your normal bedtime the next day. Crashing at 8 pm is a sure-fire way to find yourself tossing and turning at 3 am.
Updated September 2014
Previous articles by Deane:
- Experience the Brain Benefits of Do-It-Yourself Biofeedback
- 5 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Enough Vitamin D.. and What You Can Do About It
- Five Common Food Additives That Can Damage Your Brain
- Food Scams and Myths: Why Quality Matters
- The Alarming Truth About Supermarket Meat
- 18 Choices You Make Every Day That Keep You Up at Night
- Can’t Get the Hang of Meditation? Try This Instead
- Is Your Olive Oil Lying About Its Virginity?
- Stress, Telomeres, and the Secret to Prevent Aging
- 20 Common Medications That Can Cause Memory Loss
- 5 Common Food Additives That Are Toxic to Your Brain
- Coconut Oil Cures Alzheimer’s Disease: Truth or Wishful Thinking?
- 6 Common Habits that Rob You of Essential Brain Vitamins
- The ABCs of Vitamins for Memory and Brain Health
- Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Brain
Contributing writer Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. Her current focus is helping people overcome brain fog, “senior moments”, and other signs of mental decline now, and preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia in the future.
The human brain is designed to last a lifetime, but modern life takes a greater toll on the brain than most people realize. Deane teaches the best ways to keep your brain healthy and stay mentally sharp for life at her website BeBrainFit.com.