"There's food for thought, and there's food for rest."
Being a trainer is almost a license to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. I get my license renewed so often I just got the lifetime renewal. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper, dinner and snacks in between are good times for grub, but one of my favorite guilty pleasures is the midnight snack. However, the more I study sleeping, there shouldn't be a such thing as a midnight snack, I should be in deep sleep throughout the night. So in this article we'll discuss some of the foods that will help you get into that deeper state of sleep.
Deep sleep is better defined by something called REM (rapid eye movement) which is part of the sleep cycle and also involved with learning, memory, mood and temperament. There are 5 stages in the sleep cycle, and due to elevated stress levels, lack of consistent exercise and poor balanced diet prevents people from achieving a good night's rest.
You may have heard of sleeping pills, or melatonin more specifically, which is a vitamin that aids in sleep by activating the pineal gland releasing this horomone into the body. If we're going to get a good night's rest, it is important to eat foods that decalcify (cleaning) the pineal gland enabling it to produce melatonin sufficient for reaching deeper stages of the sleep cycle.
Confession: One of my biggest regrets is making meal plans for people that are based on gym-rat meat-head diets (i.e. Lots of meat & dairy, mostly concerning protein). There is a thing such as gaining muscle mass and then there's gaining muscle mass while damaging other parts of our body. My fault was busy counting macros (carbs, fats and protein) without giving further thought to food's mineral content and basing it on that alone.
So now, much of my meal suggestions and planning still count macros, yet additionally include high amounts of veggies and herbs that are used for cleansing and healing the body. These plans and suggestions encompass more of what good health really is, like being energetic, active and resting/recovering the body while you sleep.
As for you, I want to make you aware of the things that you may include in your diet that can ensure you a better rest and better energy after proper rest.
Since I always found nutritional health on hydration, there are simply a few rules to follow:
No coffee within 6-8 hours of going to sleep. Caffeine has been known to take the energy you need later-on and use it immediately, yet still imbalances that consistency of energy making you dependent on it more than you need it.
Take sips of warm/hot fluids before you sleep. Any non-caffeinated tea should help, even just warm/hot water with vinegar will help (doesn't have to be apple cider vinegar).
Don't drink more than 8 oz within the hour you go to sleep. Having a full bladder in the middle of the night will surely disrupt your flow of sleep.
Just as consistent exercise is important, food and rest go hand-in-hand. While you rest is when the food you've consumed goes to work repairing your body. As we go further into what it takes to achieve that well-earned rest, let's break down the macros.
Healthy fats have been known to aid in good sleep because they are easy to digest and provide the body with sustainable energy while awake. Saturated fats are fats that come from dairy products and have been speculated to be a bad source of fat, so the fat you really need are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats. These fats are healthiest for you as shown on the list below.