With our “on the go” mentality, appropriate amounts of sleep can at times come last on the list. One in three Americans don’t get enough sleep, and it comes at a cost. Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, not to mention a shorter life expectancy.

Short sleep duration has also been linked with obesity both in adults and children. To help decrease your waistline and overall daily performance, making small changes in your diet before bed can help pivot towards the right direction. Studies have shown that lack of sleep is also harmful for the economy- it’s estimated that lack of sleep among workers cost the U.S economy as much as $411 billion a year.

Avoiding or consuming certain foods may enhance your slumber experience, so instead of rustling around counting sheep, try these tips.

Lets start with carbohydrates. We tend to lean towards all things simple, but in this case going complex has it’s perks. Complex carbs such as whole grain bread and brown rice directly influence insulin levels. This then controls the release of brain chemicals, tryptophan and serotonin, which both play major roles in sleep cycles.  On the other hand, sweets like cake and cookies may give you a temporary spark but these foods may actually lead to reduction of serotonin levels and additional sheep to your count!

Proteins are well known for their amino acids which work as building blocks for our bodies, also important when it comes to sleep. Heavier and fat induced options such as steaks or lamb chops take longer to digest and can lead to tossing and turning at night.  Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey and fish may be the best bet when deciding on what foods to acquire these essential nutrients from.  Several of the neurotransmitters in the brain are composed from amino acids, so these brainy foods enhance the production of serotonin and a good night’s sleep.

Consuming healthy fats through nuts is a great alternative to ordering a side of french fries, and may also help enhance your sleep. Some nuts, such as walnuts contains a notable amount of melatonin ,which can potentially have positive effects on sleep cycles. Walnuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in the body’s relaxation process. Not to mention that these fatty acids can aid with heart disease prevention and play protective roles in cancer.

Eating more of these foods throughout the day can help aid a good night’s sleep and even reduce your waistline.




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