Guest Post by Karman Meyer RD, LDN
Karman is the author of Eat to Sleep; What to Eat and When to Eat it for a Good Night’s Sleep–Every Night. She shares a few of her tips in this post.
…And YOU have a chance to win a free copy of Eat to Sleep! Simply add a comment at the end of this post by March 20th, and share your healthy sleeping tip. May the best tip win!
We eat for nourishment, growth, socialization, and sometimes just for pleasure. But have you ever considered that what you eat and when you eat it can play a role in how well you sleep at night?
During pregnancy and postpartum, there can be some unique challenges that make sleeping a bit more challenging. This is due to hormone changes, physical discomfort, and stress. So it’s even more important to eat right and provide your body with all of the essential nutrients it needs for great sleep, in addition to implementing calming bedtime routines to help your body relax before sleep.
Here are 4 ways food may be impacting your sleep!
Excess Sugar, Not So Sweet for Sleep
While you may be familiar with how excess refined sugar intake can be bad for the waistline, it’s less commonly discussed the effect sweets have on getting that sweet night of slumber. Because the more sugar consumed during the day, the more likely you are to wake up in the middle of the night due to fluctuating, unstable blood sugar levels. Rather than snacking on chips, sodas, candy, and other sweet treats, choose whole fruits and whole grain snacks (like popcorn!) to satisfy a sweet or salty craving. The fiber in fruits and whole grains allow for slower absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
This essential nutrient plays a role in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body! Having healthy magnesium levels helps us sleep well, promotes healthy blood pressure and thyroid function, and improves mental health. But the sad fact is that nearly 70% of Americans are not getting in an adequate amount of magnesium on a daily basis. Pregnant women ages 19-30 years old need approximately 350 milligrams per day, while pregnant women ages 31-50 years old should aim for 360 milligrams a day. Choose magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, dates, dairy foods, and avocado each day to reach magnesium intake goals.
Going to Bed on a Full Belly
Finally, having too much food in your stomach when going to bed can make it uncomfortable for sleep. And if you’re prone to acid reflux, you may experience symptoms once you lie down in bed. Americans tend to eat the largest amounts of food and most calories at dinner time, whereas many other cultures enjoy lighter evening meals. To avoid over-consumption of food at any meal, remember to take your time while eating to aid in optimal digestion and be mindful of appropriate portion sizes to meet your individual dietary goals. ChooseMyPlate.gov is an excellent tool to learn about common portion sizes of foods and how to create a healthy, balanced plate.
The Power of Potassium
In my book, Eat to Sleep, I cover several nutrients that play a vital role in sleeping well and potassium is one of them that, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many Americans are not getting enough on a daily basis. Potassium is important for muscle contraction and easing muscle cramps, blood flow, and regulating fluid and mineral balance, and it’s recommended that adults consume 4,700 milligrams a day, nearly double what most adults are actually consuming. To boost your potassium intake, enjoy more cooked spinach, baked potatoes, cantaloupe, tomatoes, bananas and milk.
If you struggle with sleep, Eat To Sleep can help guide you back to better sleep, naturally. The book includes:
- Insight into how food impacts our sleep cycles
- 50 foods that can help improve your sleep
- 25 healthy recipes that incorporate sleep-benefiting foods
- A food and sleep log to help you track your progress
- Nutrition advice from a Registered Dietitian
Eat To Sleep is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite sleeping tip for a chance to win EAT TO SLEEP! Deadline is 7 a.m. MST on May 20th!
About the Author:
Karman Meyer is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with fifteen years of experience in the nutrition and food industry. She has been featured in publications such as US News & World Report, FoodNetwork.com and FitnessMagazine.com.
Want more pregnancy nutrition info? Check here:
Choose Healthier Fast Food!
Need grab-n-go with a side of healthy? Grab our fast food guide to help you navigate the drive-thru!