Let’s face it. Sleep is vital to everyone, from early birds to night owls. Our need for sleep varies considerably based on age and other factors, such as pregnancy or previous sleep deprivation. The Mayo Clinic shows some general guidelines for different age groups:
|Age Group||Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|Newborns||14 – 17 hours a day|
|12 months||About 10 hours at night, plus 4 hours of naps|
|2 years||About 11 – 12 hours at night, plus a 1- to 2- hour afternoon nap|
|3 – 5 years||10 – 13 hours|
|6 – 13 years||9 – 11 hours|
|14 – 17 years||8 – 10 hours|
|Adults||7 – 9 hours|
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but sometimes falling asleep is not as easy as we would like it to be. More than ever, it’s becoming apparent that sleep is essential for good health. Food plays a huge and an essential role in whether we get a restful night of slumber or if we toss and turn through the night.
New research suggests that food can affect how you sleep. The study found that people, who consumed food that was lower in saturated fat and higher in protein, fell asleep in only 17 minutes on average and remained in a deep-sleep. People who consumed foods higher in saturated fats fell asleep in 29 minutes on average and experienced less deep-sleep.
A good night’s rest is made up of digesting the right foods so that you are able to climb in bed and be in dreamland before your head hits the pillow. Below are foods that can help or harm your next slumber.
- Fruits – Fruits, such as pineapples, bananas, oranges and cherries, are few of the natural foods to contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body’s physiological functions including sleep timing, blood pressure regulation and seasonal reproduction.
- Milk – Milk definitely “does the body good” and has many benefits such as a body moisturizer, an eye gel and a fertility booster, but it also can help you sleep. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which relaxes you and makes it easier to fall sleep.
- Fortified Cereal – What goes better with milk but cereal? Next time you feel the urge to eat carbs at night, try munching down on a bowl of fortified cereal such as Kashi or shredded wheat, which both contain complex carbs. Other complex carbs are quinoa, barley, and buckwheat.
- Jasmine Rice – Jasmine rice nears the top of the glycemic index, meaning the body digests it slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream.
- Turkey – Like milk, turkey contains tryptophan, a chemical that relaxes you and is the main reason people usually doze off in front of the flatscreen after watching football during Thanksgiving.
- Valerian Tea – The root of the valerian plant has been shown to speed up and improve sleep quality. Valerian tea doesn’t have caffeine and will help make you drowsy.
- Cheeseburgers – The fat content, in cheeseburgers and other fast foods, stimulates the production of acid in the stomach causing heartburn. Another reason to avoid high-fat foods is that people who eat high-fat foods regularly, not only gain weight, but they also suffer a disruption of their sleep cycles.
- Wine – Any alcohol is terrible for sleep. It metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night.
- Coffee – Coffee contains lots of caffeine, a central nervous stimulant. Drinking coffee close to bedtime will definitely keep you up at night. Though some people develop a tolerance to caffeine, if you don’t know your tolerance, a good suggestion is to avoid the java, especially late in the day.
- Dark Chocolate – Chocolate contains not only calories, but caffeine, especially dark chocolate. For instance, a 1.55-ounce chocolate bar contains about 12 milligrams of caffeine or the same amount as three cups of decaffeinated coffee. Chocolate contains theobromine, another stimulant that can increase heart rate and sleeplessness.
- Chicken – Chicken or any protein is counterproductive when consumed at night. Instead of focusing on sleeping, your body is focusing on digesting the protein leaving you restless.
- Spicy Foods – Since the digestive system slows down when you sleep, we want to avoid spicy foods. Lying down after eating spicy cuisine can make you uncomfortable and lead to heartburn. Make sure to finish any spicy cuisine meal at least four hours before bedtime.
Eating well is an essential part of living well and it all starts with getting a good night’s rest. Sweet dreams!
- Raising the minimum hourly wage in every state by as little as $1 above the federal level might lead to fewer infant deaths and cases of low birth weight babies, a new study suggests. The researchers, who looked at three decades of data, found a pattern: states that had a minimum wage that was $1 above the federal level had a 4% decrease in infant deaths. At the same time, the number of newborns with a low birth weight dipped by 1% to 2%. nlm.nih.gov
- Over 9.6 million people signed up for health coverage through HealthCare.gov in 2016. This includes about 4 million new consumers, which means about 42% of those who signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2016 are new to the Marketplace. blog.cms.gov
- Researchers found that people who ate three or more servings of whole grains a day had a 20% reduced risk of premature death during the study period, compared to those who ate fewer or no servings of whole grains. nlm.nih.gov
- According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 about 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and about 61,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), an early, non-invasive form of the disease, will be diagnosed. breastcancer-news.com
- One in 15 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime, and more than 221,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. 60% to 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers. lungevity.org