April’s blog posts will be all about sleep awareness! We will explore tips for a better night’s sleep, eating for better sleep, exercise & your environment for proper rest & recovery. These first four tips are excellent and easy to do, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Cut the Caffeine
If you’re having trouble with sleep, try eliminating caffeine from your diet by lunchtime. As a natural central nervous system stimulant, caffeine can rev you up, sometimes for hours. Caffeine has a half-life of three to four hours. That means that half the amount of caffeine you have at lunch is still in your system three to four hours later. One study found that poor sleepers metabolize caffeine at a slower rate.
Banish the Booze
An evening nightcap may wash away the day’s stressors, but it may also keep you up at night. At first, alcohol enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger in the brain, which signals you to relax and makes you sleepy. Because the effects are enhanced, the brain cells that secrete GABA stop making so much of it. When the alcohol effects are gone two to three hours later, your brain is still not synthesizing enough GABA, so you have a relative GABA deficiency that results in poor sleep during the latter half of the night.
Try Early Bird Dining
Nodding off too soon after you’ve just downed a hefty meal can make it hard to doze off. Lying down slows the digestive process and can send stomach acids involved in digestion creeping back up into your throat, which results in indigestion and acid reflux. Try eating a dinner that has no more than 600 calories and optimally at least three hours before bed.
Go Mild, Not Hot
Fatty foods linger in the stomach longer during the digestion process, causing the stomach to secrete more acid. The result? Heartburn and reflux, and the same is true for spicy foods which trigger more acid production.
If you’re having trouble sleeping this week, look at your habits and cut the caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods from your evening routines.