You know that feeling when you start working at 9 a.m. and already feel like you don’t have the strength to do anything? If it happens once a month or every two weeks it’s mostly not a big deal. This becomes a problem when it’s almost impossible to be at your best for a prolonged period of time because all you want to do is take a nap.
Having quality sleep is as important for good health as proper diet and exercise. Your emotions, health, and brain performance all improve with adequate sleep. Lack of regular, good-quality sleep increases the risk of developing many diseases and disorders. They include dementia and obesity as well as heart disease and stroke.
Moreover, when there are days that you feel sleepy, sometimes you can just drink a cup of coffee and it goes away. But what will happen when it stops working? The key to having a body full of energy is to look closely at your lifestyle and health.
Vitamins and minerals
You are what you eat (and drink), right? The same rule applies when it comes to making your body healthy and vital. It’s imperative to remember about maintaining proper sugar levels. Overindulging in sweets may cause sleepiness, but when sugar levels drop, the body will feel tired and without energy. It is a vicious cycle that may never stop unless someone changes their diet.
A US clinical psychologist – Dr. Michael Breus claims that eating too much sugar leads to next-day cravings and a tendency to eat more and more. It may disrupt healthy sleep for a long time. People’s favorite bad habits – sugar and coffee have something in common – both of them are flushing magnesium from your system. You can find some natural energy drinks or supplements full of vitamins and minerals on the market. According to Better Body Company, you can give up coffee or reduce caffeine consumption using only healthy minerals and enzymes.
Magnesium and iron play a significant role and they help to keep you calm. Both deficiency and excess of these minerals can cause trouble sleeping. This is especially important for vegetarians and vegans. Most of the iron in the body is absorbed from meat (red meat, fish, poultry and pork), so if you decide to exclude it from your diet, remember about eating a lot of iron-rich vegetables like seaweed, beans or spinach. In some cases, it may be necessary to add supplements to your diet.
Because of different working hours, workaholism and sometimes just laziness, less people prepare their own meals and develop eating routines. Long gaps between meals may cause sugar levels to drop. When it happens, people often turn to candy bars or cookies instead of fruits and vegetables. As mentioned before, healthy sugar levels are essential, but snacks and meal timing can also influence a good night’s sleep. Eating big meals or sugar-full snacks right before bed may cause troubles with digesting and result in nightmares.
Moreover, here are some suggested best foods to eat before bed that might be able to offer you a much better night.
- Almonds. Almonds are a type of tree nut with numerous health advantages. Almonds are said to possibly improve the quality of sleep. This is because almonds and many other nuts are a source of the melatonin hormone. Melatonin regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep.
- Chamomile Tea. Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that may have several health advantages. There is some evidence that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that might enhance the quality of sleep. It is because chamomile tea contains apigenin. This antioxidant connects to specific brain receptors that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
- Kiwi. Kiwis are a fruit with few calories and a lot of nutrients. According to studies on their potential to improve sleep quality, kiwis may also be one of the best foods to eat before bed. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are sometimes attributed to serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps control your sleep cycle.
- Tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice offers some impressive health benefits. Tart cherry juice is also known to promote sleepiness, and it’s even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons, drinking tart cherry juice before bed may improve your sleep quality.
- Dairy products. Tryptophan is a known source of dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt. Milk has been shown to help older persons sleep better, particularly when combined with light exercise.
It is widely known that exercising helps your body in many ways – it prevents obesity and helps our blood circulate properly; most of us can think more clearly after a workout. Not everyone is aware that it also prevents insomnia in later stages of life and may reduce stress levels. When exercising, your body is pumping up endorphins which trigger positive emotions and feelings.
But, for some people, exercising too late in the day can interfere with how well they rest at night. Therefore, to ease into a healthy nighttime routine, exercises like mild stretching, calm yoga, or a short walk after supper may be good. If, however, late at night is the only time you can fit in that workout, then by all means, simply take a chilly shower to help your body get ready for bed.
When doing exercise at the right time you can also repair your internal clock. When it comes to healthy sleeping it is crucial to stick to the routine and stop pulling all-nighters.
The link between cigarettes and lung cancer or heart disease is widely known but it is also worth mentioning that nicotine may deprive your body of sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant. People who smoke a lot often have shallow and disrupted sleep. Even if you can fall asleep it is important for your brain to enter REM sleep. Otherwise, you can sleep even 10 hours and then still wake up tired.
Quitting cigarettes is not hard only because of the addiction. First few days you can experience nervousness, cravings and – sleeplessness. Don’t worry though, it will all pass after a few days (maybe weeks).
In fact, about half of the former smokers who are trying to quit report having problems sleeping. And the resulting lack of sleep might make it challenging to quit smoking. The body has receptors and nerve endings all over that respond to and react to nicotine. From headaches and anxiety to diarrhea and constipation, people can experience everything. You may suffer cravings, irritability, and yes, sleepless nights as your body adjusts to operating without nicotine and other harmful substances. Moreover, your withdrawal symptoms, including sleep issues, will go away with time.
Prolonged and constant stress leads to releasing bigger amounts of adrenaline and cortisol, which raises the heart rate to prepare the body for action and causes all senses to sharpen. In some situations, it is not only a good and desirable reaction, but maybe not right just before bedtime. Because of stress and dark thoughts, it is sometimes impossible to fall asleep throughout the whole night. Constant stress may also lead to other diseases.
It is said that depression and anxiety are the diseases of our times. A fast and sedentary lifestyle is increasing the risk of getting sick, not only physically. If you are feeling sad and stressed all the time, without any energy, contact your doctor immediately. It may be nothing serious, just a bump in the road, but it can also be a sign of more severe illness.
Many people who suffer from depression have trouble sleeping, either because they sleep too little or too much. Many patients who seek treatment for poor sleep also exhibit symptoms of depression.
What can be done?
If your lack of sleep is chronic, the first thing you should do is to change your lifestyle and habits. In most cases it can be done by changing diet, signing up for a gym class, quitting cigarettes or just chilling out. But sometimes it is the first symptom of something more serious. According to Medical News Today, if you managed to change some of your lifestyle habits but still have problems with sleeping, you have to check yourself for some underlying medical conditions like:
- Underactive thyroid
- Heart disease
- Food intolerance
As you can see, you don’t need to change your whole life. You can start improving your sleep even today. Just relax, grab something healthy to eat and go out, meet with your friends for a walk or take your dog. A small step every day is all it takes.