That horrible feeling when you can’t sleep. You toss and turn, as the hours go by, your frustration grows. You have to be up in only a couple hours and you’ve barely slept. This is the worst, isn’t it?
The epidemic of sleep deprivation is astounding and it’s no surprise that lack of sleep = MEGA STRESS. For many people, prescription drugs feel like the only solution from a sleepless nights, but the reality is, these drugs aren’t the solution, they only add to the problem by creating an unhealthy dependence.
What if I told you I have some healthy solutions to help you sleep better, feel younger and more energized, would you want to know what they are? Here is the BIG one…
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
It’s no secret that plant-based foods can make us feel happier, healthier and more energize when we are awake, but can they also help us when it’s time to sleep? The answer is YES! or as I like to say OH YEAH!
If you’ve ever been addicted to processed food (as I was till I was 26) I bet you’ve struggled with having a good night’s sleep. The problem with a mainly processed food diet is that it is full of JUNK and junk doesn’t nourish your mind or body. If you are already leading a busy/stressful life (which most North Americans are) and you are only feeding your body dead food (as I call it) it’s no wonder you aren’t sleeping right.
The density of vitamins and minerals from a plant-based lifestyle provides building materials to replace old cells with new ones. A nutrient-dense diet of plant-based foods helps to reduce stress and therefore helps your quality of sleep. People who sleep well are less likely to crave processed food (refined sugar and starches) because they do not require the extra energy to burn it.
So the moral of the story is, if you eat more plant-based foods you can change your sleep cycle for the better!
WHAT’S WORKING AGAINST YOU
Do you drink a lot of coffee? Do you eat sugary snacks/refined foods on a daily basis? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then your first action step would be to try replacing these items with some more healthy alternatives for one week.
I know people love their coffee and I am not suggesting you give it up forever, but try replacing your coffee with some non-caffeinated options like peppermint, ginger or chamomile tea for one week.
If you’re not quite ready to give up your caffeine fix, try some organic green tea; it has less caffeine than coffee and can help to wean you off that daily cup of joe.
PREP IS EVERYTHING
It’s all about routine. Right now you have a routine. What do you do every morning? What do you do on your lunch break? Chances are you probably do the same thing almost every day. If your routine leaves you feeling guilty, stressed and de-energized then you’re a good candidate to start planning your snacks/meals ahead of time. I normally do a big grocery shop on Sundays; this way I can prep all my snacks/meals for the week. Taking the time to prep your food will leave you feeling empowered and will get your week off on the right foot.
STOCK UP, SLEEP BETTER
- Green leafy vegetables, avocados & bananas (full of magnesium – magnesium deficiency has been linked to insomnia).
- Pumpkin, flax & hemp seeds (add to your meals – they will help satiate your appetite and help cut down on late-night cravings).
- Raw walnuts (a good source of melatonin which can help improve sleep plus they make for a simple & nutritious snack).
- Fresh organic cherries (reduce muscle inflammation and also contains melatonin).
Besides incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet here are a couple other things that can help you get the best rest possible every single night!
- Leave your cell phone in another room
- Turn off your TV or Laptop 30 mins before you go to bed
- Practice some deep breathing exercises before bed
- Read a book – a real book. Not on a tablet or laptop.
- Leave the window open a crack for fresh air
Do a one week sleep challenge!
Stock up on lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. Drink lots of lemon water and try incorporating some of the pre-sleep suggestions above.
After your week is done, let me know what improvements you noticed in your daily energy & sleep patterns. I would love to hear your stories! Post them on my Facebook page. OH YEAH!
Power of Food Tip: Keep a journal of the foods you eat and drinks you consume for a week and how you slept the night before. This is a great way to keep track of the changes in your sleep cycle and might inspire you to keep up some of these healthier habits after the week is over. Here’s to a better night’s sleep!