Round 9 – Week 5 – You Are What You Eat

Moderator: AHB Team

Round 9 – Week 5 – You Are What You Eat

Posted Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:15 pm

It's now time to focus on your diet and how it affects your sleep!

The challenge this week is to stay away from heavy meals and alcohol two hours before bed. A sweet late-night snack may be delicious but it’s not really great for your sleep. You’ll find more tips on what to eat and what to avoid for better sleep in our blog.

Let us know how you improved your diet this week and share your experience and tips with others below. What’s your sleep inducing snack of choice? Share your experience! What steps have you taken to avoid snacking before sleep?
Site Admin
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Re: Round 9 – Week 5 – You Are What You Eat

Posted Wed May 09, 2018 6:08 pm

Welcome to this week's challenge!

We are now coming close to the end of the 6 week challenge so hopefully many of you have started seeing an improvement in your sleep. This week's challenge, you are what you eat, is highly relevant when it comes to sleep and often not for the reasons you think.

Many of us give little consideration to the timing of the evening meal – and yet eating a large meal within about 3 hours of bedtime can cause significant difficulties getting to sleep and staying there.
Here’s why:
• Like sleep, our gastrointestinal system also has a 24-hour cycle, which slows down during the night hours.
• This means that a meal that would ordinarily take 2–3 hours to be emptied from the stomach will take considerably longer. This can cause significant discomfort due to the increased gastric volume and will also prevent us from getting into our deep sleep.
• Also because we are lying down we are more likely to suffer more heartburn (or reflux), making sleep even more elusive and causing ongoing discomfort throughout the night.

What to eat at night
Foods that are good for sleep contain tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin (our feel-good hormone) and melatonin (our sleep hormone). There are many foods that contain a good amount of tryptophan including:
• poultry
• leafy green vegetables
• mushrooms
• nuts such as hazelnuts and almonds (good for the occasional evening snack when hungry)
• milk
What not to eat at night
Foods that should be avoided at night are those that contain tyrosine, tyramine or glutamate, all of which stimulate us. Eating these foods late at night will often result in disturbed sleep and an over-active mind and, for some, may cause nightmares. These foods include:
• aged and processed meat
• cheese
• soy beans and soy products
• over-ripe fruit
• many types of spicy foods as they contain MSG (monosodium glutamate)

And always remember that alcohol will steal your sleep so if you want the best sleep possible try swapping that glass of wine for sparkling water or perhaps a herbal tea.

Lastly, when it comes to sleep we should bear in mind the old adage: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
Sweet dreams :) Dr Carmel
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