3 of the strongest pillars of health are nutrition (the food we eat), exercise ( moving our body) , and sleep (replenish and recovery) . We know they’re all essential and very important for overall health, but did you know they complement each other too? Here are a few top tips on how they connect, along with the best food & lifestyle tips to help you get a great night sleep.
Let’s start by looking at our timing. Ideally, we want to finish eating and drinking at least 2 – 3 hours before bed. This allows necessary time for digestion, and can alleviate symptoms of insomnia, heartburn, indigestion and restlessness.
For many people, stimulating foods & drinks, such as those containing caffeine, alcohol, or refined sugars, should be limited anywhere between 3- 6 hours before bed to prevent feeling ‘charged’ when we should be winding- down.
Importantly, we want to consume plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. A dehydrated body & mind cannot efficiently rest, nor will it process quality phases of sleep. Drinking adequate amounts of water is one the easiest steps to take to feel more refreshed & energized upon waking.
If stress or anxiety is causing insomnia or restlessness, try Magnesium supplements. Magnesium naturally relaxes the nervous system and is an essential nutrient for cellular function.
To suggest some nutritious, tasty foods to enjoy at the end of a day; its best to include a serve of wholegrains & proteins (a serve is approx. the size of a fist) & healthy fats with 2 serves of colourful plant foods.
Wholegrains & proteins contain nutrients that help produce melatonin – a hormone that helps you rest & prepare for sleep.
Healthy fats & colourful plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits and salad, contain antioxidants, omegas, phytonutrients and fibres to nourish your body and assist the ‘growth, repair & elimination process’ that naturally occurs when we achieve deep sleep.
Examples of a balanced meal for good sleep could include baked fish, wholegrain rice or couscous and a fresh garden salad with extra virgin olive oil or avocado dressing. Another would be potato gnocchi with pan fried chicken, mushroom sauce, and seasonal vegetables.
Delicious, nutritious, and satisfying for sweet dreams.
There are many other beneficial tips to achieve a great night sleep, including limiting blue light after dark, balancing hormones and having room temperature at approx 20-22C, but we’ll delve into them next time.
If you haven’t been sleeping well, try the nutrition tips I mentioned and let us know if you notice any difference.
Best always, Tracie
Tracie Connor is an Accredited Nutritionist specialising in gut health, weight management, hormone health, stress management and genetics (nutrigenomics)
Catch her regularly featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, Womens Health & Fitness Magazine, Huffington Post and on ABC Radio.