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It’s no surprise that the foods we eat play a role in our overall health. Our diet influences our energy level, our mood, our emotions, and even our sleep. We know all of these things, yet often find ourselves eating processed foods, fast food, and drinking sugary beverages that have a negative impact on how we feel and how well we sleep at night.
Getting seven to eight hours of rest every night can improve cognitive function, memory, and muscle repair. Sleep can even boost our immune system. However, this can all be derailed by the things we choose to consume throughout the day. Brain Forest Centers uses neurofeedback to create healthier neural pathways in the brain, which can often lead to healthier eating habits. Neurofeedback can also improve your sleep, but that doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and expect to feel great. So, let’s take a closer look at how your diet can improve your sleep.
What is Nutrition?
To understand what you’re putting into your body, we must first explain nutrition and its importance. The Sleep Foundation defines nutrition as “the food and other substances that allow the body to have energy and function properly.” To take things a step further, we’ll explain the three categories of nutrition: macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
You’ve probably heard the term “macros,” which refers to macronutrients. This subcategory of nutrition refers to the carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, fats, fibers, and water you consume daily.
Vitamins play an essential role in your overall health and bodily processes. Without vitamins, your cells would fail to function, repair themselves, or grow new tissue. Even your brain function would diminish without the proper essential vitamins. You can check out all 13 of them here.
Minerals are also essential for functions in your body. Your body relies on minerals from the foods you eat to keep your bones, muscles, heart, and brain strong and healthy. You need large amounts of some minerals (these are called macrominerals), while just traces of others. Here is a complete list of those for you.
Which Foods Disrupt Sleep?
When it comes to monitoring your diet and sleep, it’s helpful to know that certain foods can disrupt your nightly shuteye, whether it’s because of their chemical compounds and your body’s reaction or because they cause discomfort. Some of these foods include:
- Chocolate – has high levels of caffeine, and we already know that caffeine disrupts the sleep cycles, increasing more rapid eye movement stages throughout the night.
- Cheese – a food that contains high levels of tyramine, an amino acid that makes us feel alert and causes the adrenal gland to release more of the ‘fight-or-flight’ hormones.
- Spicy foods – such as curry, hot sauce, and mustard all contain capsaicin, the chemical that elevates the body’s internal temperature. The hotter you are during sleep, the more likely you are to be disturbed.
- Ice cream – contains more sugar than your body can process while you sleep. Ice cream and other sweets should be avoided before going to bed.
Which Foods Should You Eat for Better Sleep?
Yes, we’ve nixed all of your favorite foods before bed, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all foods. In fact, some foods can help improve your sleep and mood and lower anxiety and depression. Here are some examples:
- Cherries – a fruit that contains the right amount of melatonin. Melatonin is what your body produces to encourage sleep, so consuming cherries before bed can help promote longer, deeper sleep.
- Raw honey – another melatonin-stimulating food that also shuts off the orexin in the body (a neuropeptide that makes us feel sharp and alert). A hot mug of water, lemon, and honey is great right before bed and can help soothe your body into a deep, relaxing sleep.
- Bananas – a fruit that contains a high level of magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and helps boost your mood. Try slicing up a banana, eating it with natural nut butter before bed, and enjoying a good night’s rest.
- Almonds – which are usually consumed to curb cravings and make you feel full but are also great for a restful sleep. They, too, contain high levels of magnesium. So, try a handful before bed and get ready to drift off into calm slumber.
Neurofeedback Training Also Improves Sleep
Sometimes, your diet isn’t completely to blame for your poor sleeping habits. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and a leaky gut can all lead to sleep issues. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t feel your best, and when you don’t feel your best, you struggle with everyday stressors and life. At Brain Forest Centers, we use neurofeedback training to help create healthier, calmer neural pathways in the brain. These new pathways encourage healthier eating habits, better sleep, and increased mental clarity. Come check us out today by calling (317) 288-9828.