“Eating healthy and allowing the body to absorb proper nutrients provides the brain with the chemical environment that it needs to maintain good sleep,” said Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Nearly half of Americans spend their days tired, frustrated and moody because of poor sleep. The problem equates to many restless nights and believing stress or anxiety are the main factors. Sometimes, the issue can be solved simply by adjusting your diet.
The Sleep Foundation reports 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea that can seriously affect their quality of sleep. It also can lead to many health risks such as heart attack or stroke. Sleep apnea is also associated with snoring, which is common in overweight people who may be unmotivated to exercise.
I met a friend about 10 years ago who grew up providing a fruit at dinner. It never crossed my mind to have a fruit next to the typical vegetable and starchy side to the main course.
For many suffering from indigestion at bedtime, a heavy meal could be the issue without the healthy balance. Today we are sharing some fruit side dishes to mix up your routine at dinner and lead your family to a better night of sleep.
Apple Berry Salsa
- 2 medium-sized Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup strawberries -- sliced
- 1 kiwi fruit -- peeled and chopped
- 1 small orange
- 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apple jelly
- Peel, core, and slice apples.
- Cut apples into quarters and finely chop.
- Slice strawberries and chop kiwi.
- Place fruit in 1 quart bowl.
- Zest orange and juice the orange.
- Add orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar and apple jelly to fruit mixture, mix gently.
You can serve these on the side of a dish or on top of a chicken or pork recipe. If you want something crunchy with the salsa, you can make cinnamon chips by brushing a little olive oil on triangular-cut soft tortillas and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place in the oven at 400 for about 8 minutes.
Frozen Fruit Cups
- 6 ounces orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 cups sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen
- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple (do NOT drain)
- 3 bananas, sliced
12 ounce can lemon lime soda ***
- 1 cup water ***
- Mix all together in a large bowl.
- Scoop into individual plastic cups or popsicle molds.
- Freeze. Serve as popsicles or allow to thaw for 10-15 minutes and serve with a spoon as fruit slush.
*** To cut additional sugar, use 18 ounces of seltzer water in place of the lemon lime soda and water.
Vanilla Fruit Salad
- 1 (5.1 oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding
- 1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits with juice
- 3 bananas, sliced
- In a bowl combine the pudding mix and canned pineapple with the juice. Stir until well blended and all the pudding mixture has dissolved.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Just before serving, fold in sliced bananas.
This fruit salad pairs well with dessert for dinner like waffles or pancakes.
For those who cannot stomach drinking tart cherry juice for the high melatonin, a variety of fruits like bananas, pineapples, oranges, and kiwis contain melatonin. They are not as high as the high tart juice, but they still can help induce sleep.
Berries and plums contain rich antioxidants to counteract insomnia. Adding these to your nightly routine will help you fall asleep faster and wake less often during the middle of the night.
Sleeping more consistently during the winter months will create healthier eating habits. If you find yourself reading this article and you already are checking off most of the boxes, you may need a consultation with a sleep study professional.
Healthy eating and exercise alone may not be the only answer to your sleep deprivation. Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today for your free sleep assessment.