Lack of sleep? Here’s what to eat, drink
Sleep is super important — not only for feeling energized and focused, but also for immunity, heart health, glowing skin and weight stabilization.
If you have a bad night of sleep, don’t sweat it too much. Lean on the following foods and drinks to help give you a boost until you’re able to get the rest you need:
Water: Water is the most important drink when you are short on sleep. Dehydration can lead to overeating, moodiness and headaches, which can be especially draining if you’re lacking sleep.
Staying hydrated will help you feel energized in the short and long term. It’s also important for your brain, skin, heart and more. Carry a water bottle with you to make it easy to sip throughout the day.
Coffee and tea: Even though drinking water is best, there’s nothing wrong with having a moderate amount of caffeine, especially if you’re groggy.
Plus, there are some potential health benefits from drinking coffee and tea. Beyond boosting mood and increasing alertness, compounds in coffee may even improve heart health, brain health, diabetes and more.
Tea contains compounds that, when regularly consumed, may decrease stroke and cancer risk, and it also, when decaffeinated, can improve sleep in the long term.
Fiber-rich foods: There are several reasons why fiber is great for sleep. Fiber helps keep blood sugar steady for longer periods of time, so you can avoid the spikes and crashes that send our energy levels on a roller coaster.
Eating enough fiber can also improve sleep quality. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are packed with healthy fiber.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein and fiber to help you feel full longer, and are a great option for sustained energy when you hit an afternoon lull.
Nuts like walnuts are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can promote healthy sleep. Seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds are packed with fiber.
Eggs: Eggs are high in protein, which makes them filling and satisfying. They are quite versatile and, despite recent price increases, affordable. Eggs are also a great source of vitamin B12, which helps our cells metabolize energy and function at our best.
Calcium-rich foods: Foods like dairy, soybeans, sardines and leafy greens are worthwhile additions to your plate when you need energy. They’re high in protein, to keep you feeling fueled, and also are packed with calcium.
A lack of calcium can make it challenging to get quality sleep, possibly because of calcium’s link to healthy blood pressure.
Iron-rich foods: Not getting enough iron can lead to general fatigue and even anemia. Iron is the main nutrient that delivers oxygen throughout our bodies.
To help you feel energized on a regular basis, make sure to include iron-rich foods like spinach, kale, red meat and clams in your eating pattern. Clams in particular are also rich in energy-boosting nutrients like vitamin B12 and coenzyme Q10.
Sleep is important for short- and long-term health and wellness. Try adjusting your routine to help you get at least seven hours a night.
For days when you didn’t catch enough zs, these foods can give you a boost and set you up for better sleep in the nights to come.
EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at eatingwell.com.
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