This post about better sleep is sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely my own.
If you’re on a low-calorie diet, you might be missing out on important nutrients. If you’re missing out on important nutrients, it could be interfering with your sleep. This vicious cycle is detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. This statistic is staggering: A recent study published by the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) found women between 60 and 90 who suffered from poor sleep also had poor diets. We need to stop ignoring the direct correlation between sleep and diet, so we can instead implement healthy routines to put the vicious cycle to bed (literally).
A few sleep flips for you right off the bat:
- Did you know that if you eat a big meal too close to bedtime, your sleep can be negatively affected? You should eat no later than 3 hours before bedtime for your best Zzzs.
- Alcohol consumption also interferes with sleep—it causes your sleep to be light, which means you’re not getting the crucial REM sleep your body needs to recover.
- Working out too close to bedtime can also negatively affect your ability to sleep. You should work out no later than 3 hours before bed for your best sleep at night. *This one you know, if you’re following Flipping 50, as it is not hormone balancing exercise timing.
A diet insufficient in any way negatively affects neurotransmitters that regulate sleep and wake cycles. So if you’re trying to cut calories, or you make poor choices more often than you’d like to admit, you could be cutting your sleep, too. Then, the poor dietary choices you’re making could be a direct result of sleep deprivation! This downward spiral is tough to break. In addition to neurotransmitters, Melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, is also negatively impacted by a poor diet.
The more restrictive your diet, the more essential it is to look at what micronutrients might be missing and see how you can account for them. You might dismiss this sooner than you should. Sleep will often improve when you first start a diet, but can then worsen as insufficiencies catch up with you.
The NIPH pointed out many subjects in the study above had poor quality of protein due to missing leucine, a key essential amino acid in muscle building and repair. If you’re eating strictly plant-based, you’re more likely to need a boost of leucine at each meal, not just for sleep. Leucine is key to building muscle and sparing loss.
As if the frustration of tossing and turning isn’t the only motivation for sleep, lack of sleep slows your metabolism. No matter how much you exercise or how well you eat, without sleep, you’re going to struggle with weight. Longer sleepers have lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those that can’t get sweet dreams. BMI is not the end-all, but it’s a strong component used to predict healthy weight by physicians.
How much does it matter? For one of my clients in her sixties, it mattered to the tune of an extra 75 pounds she was able to lose. After years of exercise with no results, she decided to increase her quality and quantity of sleep, and that’s when the weight started coming off. You too can make nutrition changes to improve your sleep!
How to Eat for Sleep
- Have some carbohydrates for dinner. They help produce serotonin and you’ll be more calm, relaxed and ready for sleep. If you’ve sworn off carbs late in the day try adding a sweet potato or quinoa at dinner, and some berries for dessert.
- Consider taking a high quality multivitamin. It’s a busy life and you can’t always get all the food you need to cover all your nutrient needs. You can see my daily favorites at flippingfifty.com/resources.
- Leave two-to-three hours between dinner and bedtime. In other words, the kitchen is closed after dinner. Allow your body to do the repair it needs to while you sleep instead of splitting energy between that and digestion.
Once you’ve buffed your diet, make sure you go to bed on a bed you love. A mattress is a smart investment, given you spend a third of your life in it! My Sleep Number bed has been a game-changer. I never knew what I was missing until the first night I slept on it.
A third of Flipping 50 customers have hot flashes or night sweats before they begin. Changes in diet can help you control the frequency and intensity of those midlife symptoms. A Sleep Number Dual Temp layercan keep you (and your partner) at the right temperature each and every night.
Don’t miss the April showers protein sale !!
Save 20, 15, or 10% off your first purchase of Paleo Power, Your Whey, or Plant Power with these codes:
Summer’s around the corner! Flip 50 lean! [ends when April does]
Thanks for being a Flipping 50 reader!