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5 Simple Changes to Reset Your Sleeping Patterns
Many people nowadays work graveyard shifts, swing shifts, work late into the night at the office, or hold several jobs, while others travel so frequently is seems as if they suffer from permanent jet lag. Getting some quality sleep is not always an easy thing, no matter how tired we are sometimes. Sleeping in erratic patterns can throw off our body’s natural rhythm, called our circadian rhythm. Our internal clocks rely on natures signals to tell us when it’s time to wake up, when to eat, and when to sleep. Our bodies used to rely on natural sunlight, but in today’s artificial world, even electric lights and computer screens confuse our natural rhythm.
New studies show, however, that you can reset that internal clock by changing some of the foods in your daily diet.
Researchers doing studies in Japan discovered that there is a connection between what we eat and our body’s circadian rhythm. It’s all about the insulin, folks. Our pancreas makes this hormone when we eat, and certain foods cause more of an insulin release than others. An insulin rush will make you feel tired. So, by eating foods that cause your pancreas to produce more insulin, you can reset your natural rhythm so you get sleepy, like you naturally should. The flip side of this coin is, by eating foods that don’t hit that insulin button, you should feel more awake.
So by adjusting what you have for dinner, you should begin to feel sleepy at a reasonable hour so you can get some serious sleep and be refreshed in the morning (find out why you should sleep). This means that dinner should include a lot of carbs. Try eating foods that are rich in carbs for dinner such as rice, potatoes, pasta. The opposite would be true of breakfast, avoid carbs and eat lean proteins, fresh fruits, and veggies.
For those of us with more normal working hours, we sometimes find that our clock is a bit out of synch with that clock on the wall. Perhaps you could benefit from a bit of this manipulation. Most of us live lifestyles that include being exposed to those blue lights that come from our tablets, cell phones, laptops, and televisions. By altering our diet, we can get our clocks back on schedule without having to make drastic changes to our lifestyles. Read also why you should turn off netflix and go to sleep.
Although it might seem strange that what we eat is somehow connected with how our brains are timed to fall asleep but it’s true. Scientists are only just beginning to understand how our diets affect how our brain works and how we sleep.
Take a look at the top 5 dietary changes you should incorporate into your life to try to reset your natural sleeping pattern.
1. What’s For Dinner? Fats and Carbs
If your body is always running on the sugar and caffeine you feed it during the day, you probably find that you are hungry all the time and have big energy slumps (which you then fill with caffeine and sugar). This is what you don’t need when you are trying to fall asleep.
Eat carbs and healthy fats at dinner. This means go ahead and make that spaghetti dinner with garlic toast, or potato soup with avocado on the side or try having breakfast for dinner, such as bagels, pancakes, or waffles. Loading up on carbs at dinner gives you that big spike of insulin you want so you feel sleepy a few hours after eating.
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2. Breakfast Foods
So, now that you had breakfast for dinner, think about proteins for breakfast. If you typically have smoothies, try to avoid adding a lot of fruit and think about greens instead. Also, try adding a tablespoon of whey protein to your smoothie. You might also want to think about having some turkey bacon and a couple eggs. Think protein in the morning.
3. Try Some Raw Honey
Your brain actually uses a lot of energy in the night while you are sleeping. It tends to get this energy from the sugar that is stored in your liver or in your muscles if it doesn’t find a sufficient amount in your liver. Eating a bit of sugar just before bed is a way to get your brain some of the food it’s looking for to run during the night.
Try having a cup of chamomile or other soothing, non-caffeinated tea and add some raw honey to sweeten it. This touch of honey will also raise your insulin levels so you should have no problem falling asleep. Just one or two teaspoons in your tea at night will do the trick. Find out benefits of honey for the health.
4. Omega-3’s to the Rescue
This is another great food source that not only helps to protect your brain, but can help you sleep. Omega-3’s improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and taken before bedtime can give your brain the substrates it needs for repair.
You could have some seafood or oily fish, such as salmon cakes, for dinner or, take your omega-3 fish oil supplements with dinner instead of in the morning. Although some people take flaxseed oil or hempseed oil, they can sometimes be too high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain less of the omega-3 fatty acid that you are need. Read more about different omega-3 sources.
5. Lunchtime Fare
To keep yourself well balanced, eat an equal combination of proteins and carbs. Don’t make your meals too much of one or the other. Eating too many carbs will make you sleepy right after lunch while eating too much protein doesn’t give your body the sugars it needs to keep going through the afternoon and you might find yourself standing in front of the vending machine about 3PM, drooling over a candy bar. A good mixture of both carbs and protein will give your body what it needs to keep working without making you sleepy or giving you those afternoon sugar cravings.