Sleep is one of the most important factors for our health, with 67% of people indicating quality of sleep as being one of their biggest health concerns. And yet many Americans are lacking the right amount of sleep, or are getting very poor quality; 35% of Americans do not get the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, and up to 20% have a difficult to manage sleep disorder.
With a loss of sleep continuing to plague so many people, it has become crucial that we implement small changes to our lifestyle in order to get the sleep we need to feel the very best.
This can be done in many different ways, such as setting up a sleep schedule to stick to, avoiding naps, regulating caffeine and alcohol consumption, and regular exercise; but perhaps the most influential factor to improve sleep quality is by tweaking and improving the food and nutrition consumed.
Avoid Over Consumption Of Sugar
The consumption of sugar greatly affects your sleep cycle; when the amount of sleep decreases, blood sugar levels increase automatically. The spikes of sugar levels then disrupts your sleep, making it increasingly difficult to both fall asleep, and maintain a deep sleep.
Significantly cutting down on sugar should be prioritized in order to improve the quality of sleep. It is equally important to ensure that whilst calories from sugar and carbohydrates are cut, they are being replaced with healthy alternatives.
Fats and proteins are more difficult for the body to digest, and so over consuming these two macro nutrients will result in disruptions in the normal functions of the body, and sleep will be sacrificed.
Increase Calcium Levels
Calcium is an all natural sleep aid that greatly assists the sleep cycle. In fact, it is one of the main nutrients that assists the body in creating melatonin, which is considered the dominant hormone used to put the body to sleep.
When researchers have studied disturbances in deep sleep patterns and REM sleep (rapid eye movement), calcium deficiency proved to be one of the biggest causes of this. All evidence then points to an increase of calcium when seeking a better and higher quality of sleep. Calcium can be found in many foods, such as dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese, as well as spinach, tofu, soya beans, and nuts.
Calcium supplements can also be taken, either individually or as part of a daily multivitamin.
Incorporate More Omega 3- Fatty Acids
Consuming omega 3 fatty acids are incredibly beneficial because of their positive role in cell function and production. These powerful nutrients have been proven to promote quality restfulness and to lower stress hormones.
When there are low levels of omega 3 in the body, melatonin is not released, and thus sleep quality is affected. Intake of the nutrient can be increased through eating fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, and oysters. It can also be found in cod liver oil, flax seed, walnuts, soybeans, and plant oils such as canola oil.
A good quality sleep may seem difficult to come by, but tweaking your diet is one of the very best ways to achieve this. Avoiding the food that keeps you awake and restless, and adding foods that promote a healthy sleep cycle will have you falling asleep peacefully in no time.
For all your sleep troubles, Alaska Sleep Clinic has a blog with answers you are looking for to your health questions. Sign up to receive ASC's daily sleep blog below. Our website received over 5 million visits last year alone, making www.AlaskaSleep.com one of the top 5 sites in the world for sleep education.
Food, meal, fish and salmon | HD photo by Caroline Attwood (@carolineattwood) on Unsplash