Research tells us that quality sleep can make or break our health, especially in the long run. The problem however, is that most of us don’t even realize we are not allowing ourselves to have refreshing sleep. I often say to my clients, just because you are laying in bed for 7-10 hours, does not necessarily include an adequate amount of sound sleep. Our goal as adults should be 6.5-8 hrs of sleep per night with roughly 20-25% of that sleep being deep REM sleep, For most of us, that is roughly 90 minutes.
While sleeping in a cool, dark room can be incredibly beneficial, so can avoiding foods that may potentially disrupt our sleep. In addition to leaving a 2 hour gap between your last bite of food and bed, try to avoid the following:
- Spicy Foods: greater chance of reflux, gastrointestinal turmoil and increase in core body temperatures.
- Greasy/High Fat Foods: very difficult to digest. Our body will spend more time focused on breaking down this heavy meal vs. focusing on restorative sleep.
- High Protein Meals: along the same vein, a very high protein meal can be difficult to digest as well, thus leading to poor quality sleep. Now, a light meal or snack that contains protein would be appropriate, but if you have not eaten all day and then you sit down to a 14 ounce steak, you are not likely to experience refreshing sleep.
- Cheese: quick and easy to eat but cheese is not the best choice before bed. This is because cheese contains an amino acid called tyramine. Tyramine has been shown to increase our stress hormone, norepinephrine.
- High Sugar Foods: many reasons why sugar intake, especially before bed can be highly disruptive. A few of the top reasons include, sugar’s ability to create large swings in blood sugar, the depletion of magnesium and an increase in the overall human body inflammatory response.