The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your day, including mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight.
While it may seem like losing sleep isn’t such a big deal, not getting enough sleep has a wide range of negative effects that go way beyond simple drowsiness.
Beyond Drowsiness – the Negative Effects of not getting Enough Sleep
- Lack of motivation
- Moodiness and irritability
- Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills
- Inability to cope with stress
- Reduced immunity; frequent colds and infections
- Concentration and memory problems
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of accidents
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems
So, now you know what lack of sleep can do. But what exactly is keeping you awake?
When, how and what you eat has the potential to either help or hinder the quality of your sleep. If you have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or wake feeling un-refreshed in the morning, check if one or more of your current nutrition habits could be disrupting your sleep:
- Drinking coffee after lunch: Don’t drink coffee past two o’clock because different people metabolize caffeine at different rates. Enjoying your coffee early in the day will reduce the impact it may have on your sleep. (please note: soft drinks, teas and chocolate are also caffeine sources.) And just because you’ve always drank 4 cups a day, things change with age. Our ability to excrete caffeine decreases as we age.
- Eating too close to bedtime: Your digestive system requires a lot of energy to do its job. Fatty foods take a lot of work and spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Late-night meals and snacks prevent your body from slowing down in preparation for sleep. And it plays havoc with your weight as well – double whammy.
- Skipping meals: Not eating causes blood sugar imbalance, which creates stress and raises cortisol. This results in having difficulty falling asleep or frequent waking throughout the night, especially between 2 and 4 am. Blood sugar stability is what your body needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. Eat within an hour of rising, every 3 to 4 hours during the day, and stop eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Drinking alcohol: Many people think a drink before bed helps them sleep. What it does is help you fall asleep faster, but then it reduces your sleep quality by waking you up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning.
What can you eat if you are really hungry but don’t want to interfere with your sleep?
Remember the old remedy of a warm glass of milk if you can’t get to sleep? The trick is Calcium. This mineral calms the nervous system. So any snack that incorporates calcium is a good choice. A few other choices would be a banana, granola with milk or yogurt, or a small turkey or peanut butter sandwich.
For an activity that requires so little effort….it provides so many benefits!