Published November 08, 2010
As you go about your hectic lifestyle, one thing that you must be sure that you're not shorting yourself on is a sound sleep. If you're working out hard in the gym, without that proper night's rest each evening, you're going to really struggle to keep up with your recovery and progress.
In addition to this, those who aren't sleeping well throughout the night are more likely to see elevated levels of cortisol in their body, which will then encourage belly fat accumulation. If a lean midsection and a healthy rate of muscle building are two of your main priorities, you definitely want to look into how to sleep better. You’ve come to the right place.
What you eat will have a big influence on the quality of your sleep. You can easily sleep better by making a few changes and being sure to include foods that promote rest. Note, however, that you should not eat these foods immediately before going to bed, as that can keep you awake due to the increased blood flow to the digestive system; eat them one to two hours before you plan to turn in for the night. This will allow the heaviest part of digestion to take place and also give the sleep-enhancing effects a chance to kick in.
Let's have a quick look at the top foods you should consider if you want to sleep better.
Your road to being able to sleep better could start with a simple half- to one cup of cottage cheese before you turn in for the night. Cottage cheese is a perfect source of protein before bed since it contains slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the muscle tissues for hours to come.
In addition to this, it's really going to help improve your sleep as it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which will naturally induce sleep in the body and help you get a better night's rest. Yes, the idea that turkey has enough tryptophan to knock you out is a little farfetched, but the amino acid does facilitate serotonin production and serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep.
Pair your cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural almond butter to keep the body satisfied for the overnight fast to come.
While most people think of oatmeal as a breakfast food, it does work well in the evening due to the fact that the carbohydrates cause a serotonin release in the body. Serotonin is a ”feel good” hormone that decreases stress and puts you in a much calmer state of mind.
Since oatmeal is also a slower digesting source of carbohydrates, you won't have to worry about waking up halfway through the night with crashing blood sugar levels.
Slice up half an apple and add to your oatmeal, along with a bit of cinnamon. Serve with a splash of skim milk if desired.
Peanuts or peanut butter
Another food that you should consider if you often have difficulty falling asleep is peanuts or natural peanut butter. Peanuts are a rich source of niacin, which is another nutrient that helps to increase the release of serotonin in the system.
They are slightly higher in both fat and calories, so you'll want to keep your portion sizes under control. However, when peanuts or peanut butter are eaten in moderation, they are definitely the perfect addition to any diet plan.
Try having a piece of whole grain toast smeared with peanut butter for best results.________________________________________________________________________
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Fatigue-Fighting Foods _________________________________________________________________________
You might have heard it before and just chalked it up to an old wives tale, but having a glass of warm milk before bed can actually promote faster sleep. The reason behind this is due to the fact that milk also contains that tryptophan amino acid, and for most people, the warm liquid provides a soothing effect and will have a very relaxing effect.
Additionally, milk also offers up a good dose of calcium, which works in the brain to help regulate the production of melatonin, which is a substance that's going to naturally control your sleep-wake cycle.
Add a teaspoon of honey if you prefer to sweeten it up and provide a bit of carbohydrates that will further cause a serotonin release.
Finally, the last food that you'll want to consider having before bed to help promote a restful night's sleep is grapes. Grapes are the only fruit found to contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, so by adding them regularly to your diet, you can help boost the natural sleep-wake cycle in the body. This will then allow you to get to sleep faster each night.
Toss some sliced grapes into a small bowl of yogurt for added calcium, and you'll have a perfect before-bed snack.
Don’t let the bedbugs bite
Next time you find yourself really struggling to get to sleep each night, take a good look at your diet and see if there can't be some adjustments made there. If you stick to a nice light snack that contains some carbs, as well as foods that have tryptophan or calcium in them, you'll be right on track to promoting that peaceful sleep you're looking for.