Did you know that one of the most common causes of lack of sleep is stress? Approximately, 77% of people experience physical symptoms caused by stress on a regular basis. And while external factors play a significant role in this predicament, believe it or not, the food you consume daily affects stress levels as well. But the good news is, by eating nutrient-rich, detoxifying, yet delicious food, you can significantly reduce stress levels, which in turn will result in better sleep. Here are the top meats, fruits, and veggies that can help you get more and better sleep.
Breakfast – Oatmeal with antioxidants
Interestingly, the way you start your day impacts the way you end it. In other words, starting off the day with a nutritious breakfast helps to kickstart your metabolism, and ensures you have sufficient energy to face the challenges of the day. A delicious bowl of oatmeal with Vitamin-rich fruits like kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries is the perfect breakfast that helps fight free radicals, and helps your body reach an optimal pH level, which lowers the odds of inflammation.
But how does this tie back to better sleep? – you may wonder. Lower levels of triglycerides, i.e. unhealthy fats automatically make it easier for the body to function properly. In other words, lower stress levels for the body throughout the day mean better sleep at night.
Lunch – Healthy carbs and oils
A mid-day meal that can have positive effects on your sleep can include healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, kidney beans, and chickpeas mixed with healthy nuts and oils. Obviously, you shouldn’t eat all of these together, but there are a variety of healthy combinations that can make a healthy detox lunch.
Some combos include grilled sweet potatoes with olive oil, quinoa with almonds and cashews, and chickpeas with coconut oil and walnuts. Besides being extremely delicious and filling, these simple carb-based salads give the body a bit of extra fuel to push through the day, while the healthy oils protect the immune system from unwanted intruders, which automatically lowers stress resulting in better-quality sleep.
Additionally, healthy oils are also crucial when it comes to hormone production, which affects sleep patterns. Tryptophan, for instance, found in almonds, aids serotonin and melatonin production, which are essential hormones that regulate sleep. Needless to say, this is especially helpful to those who have a low supply of melatonin, and need a natural alternative to help boost the production of this sleep-inducing hormone.
Dinner – Protein with greens
Some of the most protein-filled meals include chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tuna mixed with refreshing healthy herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary. This type of detox dinner is helpful for two reasons; it’s light yet filling, which means you won’t go to bed hungry, but you won’t feel bloated either. But more importantly, healthy meats like turkey and chicken are filled with the amino acid called tryptophan which, as previously mentioned, promotes the production of serotonin – a hormone essential for good sleep.
In essence, stress levels and good sleep are inextricably interwoven; and while we cannot always control external stress factors, we can control what we consume in a day. Staying clear of processed foods and eating vitamin-rich detoxifying meals can help rid the body of unwanted toxins, which in turn reduces stress levels and automatically results in better, even longer sleep. And on top of it all, detox meals taste really good, which makes a detox diet a win-win scenario.
Image by Ella Olsson