It’s been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, we think this phrase should be adapted slightly. A good night’s rest is an often overlooked, underrated activity that directly affects your mental and physical health. Our energy levels, focus, productivity, creativity, to name a few, are all directly linked to and affected by sleep, or a lack thereof.

Some people need more sleep than others. If you exercise regularly, you might need a bit more shut-eye than someone who doesn’t, for obvious reasons. However, in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, sleep is slowly becoming a luxury, not a necessity, and it is affecting our health negatively.

A lack of sleep has many negative effects on our physical and mental health. While we sleep, our body has the chance to repair, rebuild and recover from the day that’s been. You heart and blood vessels are repaired, your muscles are recovering from an intense training session, and your brain is forming new pathways to get you ready for another day. The less we sleep, the less time our body has to recover. The less we recover, the worse we perform.

So, how can you ensure that you get enough quality rest every night? Aside from exercising to exhaust our energy levels, our diet plays a big role when it comes to the quality of our night’s rest. Here are a few tips on food you should and shouldn’t eat before bed.

1. Skip the caffeine

Drinks like coffee and snacks like dark chocolate contain caffeine, which is a central nervous stimulant. Avoid consuming anything that contains caffeine at least six hours before bedtime, depending on your caffeine sensitivity.

2. Reach for the cherries

Cherries increase your quality of sleep because they are natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps us relax. (Click here to discover other sources of natural melatonin.)

3. Say no to foods high in fat

Ice-cream, chips, pizza, to name a few. Foods high in fat takes a while to digest. Your body isn’t resting if it is busy digesting.

4. Sip on some chamomile tea

There are so many amazing benefits linked to chamomile tea, but the number one reason you should have a cuppa before bed is because it helps the body relax. In addition to this, it relieves anxiety, eases muscle tension, is great for your skin and stomach, and combats inflammation. Another cup, please!

5. Avoid spicy food

For the simple reason that it may cause heartburn that will put an end to a good night’s rest.

6. Have a banana

Potassium and magnesium (both found in high volumes in bananas) are natural muscle relaxants. Bananas are also high in carbohydrates, which can make you sleepy and result in a good night’s rest.

Nutrition tips for a good night’s rest

7. Avoid alcohol

Consuming alcohol before bed could negatively affect your natural sleeping patterns.

If you are serious about your physical and mental health, get serious about your quality of sleep. Aim for 7 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, and don’t sabotage your sleep by eating food that could keep you awake.

Want to learn more about how food can affect your overall health and well-being? Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Specialised Nutrition Course will get you clued up on everything that is nutrition. Click here for more information.

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