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How healthy eating can contribute to better sleep habits

June 26, 2018
Sleep-habits - Hearty Health

New research released by VicHealth and the Sleep Health Foundation has found that technology before bed, caffeine and stress can all contribute to later bedtimes, sleep problems and mental illness.

But did you also know that your diet has a huge effect on the quality, duration and consistency of your sleep? Breaking life-long habits can be tough; try incorporating these simple changes into your daily routine, and it might just be the answer to ensure a long and restful night of sleep.

Establish a regular sleeping and eating routine

Monday to Friday, most of us work from early morning to late afternoon. Regular hours of sleep are important. Try establishing a good sleep routine (think the same bedtime routine away from technology and physical activity) paired with a healthy eating pattern (not eating after 7pm, avoiding high-energy food, etc), and your body and mental health will benefit greatly through proper rest and recuperation.

Stay away from processed foods high in sugar and carbohydrates

Sugar and carbohydrates convert to energy in our body and can cause pronounced changes in your blood sugar levels. While it’s important to eat them in moderation, it may be better to avoid them at night. When you eat heavier meals closer to bedtime, it can interrupt your body’s natural wind-down routine and affect your sleep.

A snack before bed may help develop healthy sleep habits

Though we don’t recommend a five-course meal, it is difficult to sleep on an empty stomach. A light snack can help settle those little hunger pains in your stomach if you didn’t eat enough nutritious food during the day. Check out our Hearty Health blog here for nutritious recipes that may help.

Caffeine is a stimulant

Outside of coffee, caffeine is found in many popular drinks and snacks. These include tea, soft drinks, chocolate and more, which can make it harder to get to sleep. Try introducing a caffeine-curfew in the afternoon as caffeine can stay in your bloodstream between three to seven hours. So though you might think the effects of that five o’clock coffee will wear off before bed, it’s most likely still working through your system.

Make sure your bedroom is comfortable

Your bedroom should be quiet, comfortable and dark. The bright lights from our phones, power cords and other technology (i.e. blue light) can mess up your body’s ability to prepare for sleep by blocking melatonin – the hormone that makes you sleepy.

Exercise and physical activity

Daily exercise and time spent outside in the daylight is an important part of healthy living and promotes healthy sleep habits, as it releases negative and pent-up energy. However, it is best to steer clear of heavy exercise in the hour before sleep.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day can help maintain your energy levels and avoid dehydration, setting you up for a great night’s sleep later on. Most often, by the time you feel thirst, your body is already feeling the effects of dehydration. Juice and tea can help with hydration, but perhaps stay away from an overabundance of sugary or caffeine-heavy drinks.

Our mission at Hearty Health is to provide the highest possible nutritious and premium-quality meals throughout Australia. So, we’re working with Meals on Wheels Victoria, to spread the joy of healthy, delicious and chef-prepared meals to the community.

For more tips and advice from the chefs in the Hearty Health kitchen, feel free to contact us.

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