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Food Equals Sweet Dreams?

Our co-founder Iva Bravic Millereau caught up with our Guest Editor, Tamara Gorsek-Bobanac of @m_a_n_g_o_and_c_o_c_o to talk food & dreams! 

As the Holiday season is in full swing, many of us are still facing social distancing measures that are keeping us away from our family and friends and thus much closer to our kitchen!

The Holidays are usually filled with a little too much food, wine, and deserts. And no, it isn’t a bad thing to occasionally allow yourself to indulge when it feels good.  However, it is usually after a very heavy meal, that we often notice how difficult it can be to get to sleep and experience a good night’s rest. Did you know that the food that you consume can affect your sleep quality?   

Here are a few useful tips to stay both healthy and rested during the winter holidays: 

Keep the festive meals for lunchtime! 

The important thing to mention about eating habits and sleep is the so-called timing or the time when which we consume certain kinds of food. It is not very convenient to go to bed on an empty stomach because there is a high probability that you will not be able to fall asleep as hunger will consume your thoughts. On the other hand, if you eat a large meal right before bed, it will certainly disrupt your sleep by making it more difficult to fall asleep.  Additionally, you may keep waking up at night because your body will struggle with digestion.  Rule of thumb is that you should eat dinner at least two hours before bed to allow ample time for the digestion process to get going before you are ready for bed.  And if you really must eat something before going to sleep, it is advisable to have only a light late-night snack.

 

Limit your caffeine intake.  

That late-night espresso tradition during a family meal can disrupt your sleep for the next 24 hours. Keep your coffee consumption to the first part of the day, and ideally not after 4pm.

Eat light in the evening.

The Brits may have been onto something instituting tea time as the last real meal of the day.  Be mindful of the types of food you choose to eat sticking to water-filled veggies and fruits and very light protein such as fish.

 Cap your alcohol! 

A small amount of alcohol may help you fall asleep, we know how quickly that idea can turn into on that prevents you from sleeping well.   It is likely that your sleep will be disturbed because alcohol reduces the amount of deep sleep (which takes place during the Rapid Eye Movement phase, the so-called REM phase) and without that phase, you will not feel refreshed the next day.  If you have over-indulged in the cocktail department, be sure that it is balanced out with some water and vitamin-C to prevent dehydration.  The dehydration is actually what sends you into hangover terriority the next day.

 Drinking too much fluid in the afternoon and evening can also upset your sleep by causing you to wake up and make multiple trips to the bathroom

 

So what can I do to induce sleep?

 

  1. A glass of milk with honey? 

Dairy products contain one of the essential fatty acids that can cause sleepiness. This explains why the well-known way of falling asleep with a cup of milk and a spoonful of honey is not a bad idea at all. Honey contains simple sugars that facilitate the entry of the previously mentioned amino acid, tryptophan (yes the same thing in that Thanksgiving Turkey and the nap that follows) into the brain.

     2. Detox between holiday meals.

A detox doesn’t have to be about what you aren’t eating, it can be about being mindful about what you are and the desired shift you are looking to create.

 My go-to detox drink is the following:

 Chlorella Detox Smoothie

 Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of chlorella powder
  • 1 tbsp of plant-based protein
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 organic cucumber
  • 1 cup of organic baby spinach
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 half of avocado
  • 1 peeled green apple

Put all ingredients into your blender. Start blending on low speed and gradually increase to high. Blend around 1 min at high speed or until smooth. 

 

  1. Improve your sleep quality with the right food! 

Nutrition that promotes good sleep is based on a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, more easily digested forms of proteins, and dairy products.

It’s probably not the first time you have heard the items listed above, and this is just a reminder that without the right combination of food and moderation in eating and drinking, there restful sleep isn’t going to happen. It has a cumulative effect in how it can create exactly the opposite. Without enough restful sleep, you will not have a strong immune system, your organs will not function normally, and your mood will ultimately be affected negatively.

For this reason, always strive to provide good-quality food for you and your family.  If you seek inspiration for healthy food combinations - you can learn more at the Food&Family lifestyle blog which promotes healthy eating and healthy habits.

Checkout my Instagram account @ m_a_n_g_o_and_c_o_c_o, and also my website which is coming soon - www.mangoandcoco.com.

 Sweet Dreams, 

Tamara xo