For proper health and longevity, medical professionals recommend that we get about 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Kinda crazy to think that 1/3rd of the day is supposed to be spent sleeping!
Just imagine: if you live to be 90 years old and average 8 hours of sleep per night, you will have slept for a whopping 30 years!
It almost seems like a waste of time, doesn’t it?
The reality is if you skimp on sleep, you probably won’t make it to 90 anyway. In fact, a recent research review found that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are at a higher risk of all-cause mortality and typically have shorter lifespans than those who sleep 7-8 hours per night.
So, what should you do if you struggle to fall and/or stay asleep at night? Surprisingly, a few simple diet modifications can help you sleep like a rock!
1. Eat Freshwater Fish 2-3 Times Per Week
A recent study found that adult males who consumed Atlantic salmon (300-gram portion) 3x weekly for six months were able to fall asleep roughly 10 minutes quicker than males who ate beef, chicken, or pork instead. It’s likely that the sleep-promoting properties of freshwater fish like salmon are due to their rich profile of omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, and vitamin D content. However, don’t get too carried away with eating seafood as it can lead to excessive intake of heavy metals like mercury and arsenic.
2. Avoid Eating Shortly Before Bedtime
“Nighttime eating” is suggested to be a major cause of non-restorative sleep. In general, you should avoid eating within an hour of bedtime. When you lay down to sleep, your body is trying to “shut down” for the night; having food in your stomach/digestive tract hinders that shutdown process and may cause indigestion/acid reflux since gravity is, in part, responsible for moving food through the gastrointestinal tract when we are upright.
3. Watch Your Sugar & Caffeine Intake (Especially in the Evening)
Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, coffee and other sugary and/or caffeinated beverages are the last thing you want to put in your body when you’re trying to unwind and get to bed. Frankly, soda and sugar-laden drinks are poor choices for health and longevity, so cutting those out of your lifestyle will only help. If you crave carbonated beverages throughout the day, try natural sparkling/mineral water instead. For coffee and tea lovers, switch to herbal/decaf varieties in the evenings so you don’t feel “amped” up when you’re trying to nod off for the night.
4. Go Nuts (on Almonds)!
Almonds are arguably the single healthiest nut known to man due to their essential monounsaturated fatty acid and mineral profile. In fact, consuming almonds daily appears to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and hypertension. In addition, the magnesium content of almonds may help improve sleep quality by supporting healthy cortisol rhythms, which is imperative for mood and relaxation.
Even just one ounce per day – which is about a handful of almonds – can contribute to deeper, more restful sleep.
5. Drink Chamomile Tea in the Evening Hours
Being stressed out and/or anxious after a long day at the office anxious is a major culprit of restlessness. Chamomile tea is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to improve sleep quality while also reducing anxiety in a recent human trial.
What about CBD for Sleep?
Cannabidiol is suggested to be a natural treatment for insomnia and improving sleep, particularly when underlying stress and/or anxiety are the cause of sleep disruption. In fact, a recent survey study found that CBD users are significantly more likely to have “good” sleep quality when compared to non-CBD users.
If you’re looking for a little extra help to get a good night’s rest, CBD just might be what the doctor ordered.