Resolve to get more sleep in the new year

3 min read
01 Jan 2018
3 min read
845 words
This week, our resident fitness expert spotlights on your diet and how it can affect your sleep cycle

It’s the New Year weekend and I am sure your plans are set. Welcoming the new year usually comes with a resolution to do better and be better; thus, I will be doing a series of articles with suggestions that should help you achieve just that.

On that topic, I believe that we usually overlook sleep, and come 2018, we should aim to give sleeping more importance. After all, whether you are a student, an employee or a self-employed business person, when we have to give up indulges like watching our favourite TV shows, we choose to relinquish our snooze time.

The importance of sleep

While you rest, your body is preparing you for the challenges that lie ahead. For one, studies have shown that adequate sleep boosts your ability to recall information, especially when you are learning something new, and helps you process novel information better.

Additionally, various studies have shown a positive relationship between sleep and weight loss. Reflect on this the next time you sacrifice your sleep time. And do you find yourself crankier than usual and having to fight off cravings? That would mean you might be lacking sleep, and thus affecting your appetite hormones—and that’s why you end up feeling hungrier. Over time, this can result in weight gain and increase your risk of heart diseases.

Enhanced attention is a given when you are well-rested. That should provide you a plethora of advantages, ranging from better efficiency to more creativity, less stress and a more positive attitude.

In a previous article, I gave you tips on how you can sleep better, and this week, my spotlight is on your diet and how it can affect your sleep cycle. 

Foods that can boost sleep

  • Nothing too heavy:

    This is the rule of thumb. You see, anything heavy will slow down your digestive system, and instead of helping you sleep, that will induce your body to be occupied with breaking down the calories you have just consumed.
    TIP: Go for light meals consisting of vegetables and liquids like hearty soups, and if you must have a protein, opt for lean meat cuts. 
  • A sleep-promoting substance, tryptophan, is present in dairy products such as milk and other food items like nuts and eggs. If you have difficulty sleeping, then you can help yourself by having a glass of warm milk before bedtime. Make sure that you do not add extra sugar, which will mess up your sleep.
  • Don’t consume dairy? Almond milk is a viable option along with peppermint and chamomile teas.

Foods that can disrupt sleep

Now, simply consuming such foods is not enough, and it is equally crucial to have food that will aid in boosting sleep. Here are some things you should think about.

  • Protein overload: Like they say, moderation is key. Protein is good for so many reasons, but when you have too much of it, later in the day, your body’s digestive mechanism goes into overdrive and makes it difficult for you to sleep. 
  • The less ‘amilo, piro’, the better: I love my spice and am all for ‘twak ka pareko’ snacks and/or meal items. However, that ‘dalle khursani’ flavoured tarkari might not be the best option for dinner, particularly, if you are prone to acid reflux. 
  • Caffeinated items: For some, the theory that coffee helps one stay awake may not apply. Nevertheless, if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, then you should consider cutting out the main culprit, the cup of joe, and items like milk chocolate, tea and caffeinated drinks. 
  • Snacking too close to bedtime: Snacks that have high sodium content will result in your making frequent trips to the bathroom, thus disrupting your sleep. Therefore, avoid snacking about  two hours before sleeping, and if you must snack, have carbs that boost tryptophan such as nuts and wheat crackers or milk.