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Don't Snooze on What You Eat

We’ve had a lot of celebrating going on in the Upp house lately. Just before Easter festivities, we celebrated my youngest turning 10. (How do I have two kids in double digits?-- Sorry, I digress.) All events combined sent me well over my 10% of weekly freebie food choices. It’s all fun and games enjoying those meals until you know you’ve gone overboard and lay down to go to bed. UGH… One night my bloated and an over-full tummy literally prevented me from falling asleep as quick as I’m used to. As I tossed and turned because of how full I was, all I could think was, “I know better”! I woke up as Miss Cranky Pants and had a rough time all day finding my happy place. YUCK! Needless to say, I’ve got my game face back on, I’m stocked up on lots of healthy choices, and I have no desire to feel that way any time soon. I'm literally craving the good stuff! Sleep is one of the most essential needs in life. Without it, our bodies and mind cannot function physically or mentally. Lack of sleep has many ramifications, both short and long term. But, as I personally experienced, certain foods can significantly interfere with your sleep. Here are some of the best and worst food and drink for sleep. THE WORST Caffeine It takes only 15-45 minutes for caffeine to be fully absorbed into our bloodstream. After that it takes approximately five to six hours for it to reduce its effect by half in your bloodstream. So if you are an afternoon soda drinker (give me a call to help you stop!) or coffee drinker, you want to stop your last drink to by at least six hours before bedtime. If you are dark chocolate lover like myself, don’t forget that this delicious little treat (that I encourage to help with cravings), also has caffeine. So, you want to enjoy your dark chocolate mid-afternoon to not interfere. The average person should aim to cut caffeine around 3:00 p.m. Alcohol One of the latest studies found that alcohol increases slow-wave "deep" sleep during the first half of the night, but then increases sleep disruptions in the second half of the night. Research shows that drinking alcohol makes you more likely to wake during the night, leaving you feeling less rested in the morning. So although it may seem like those glasses of wine are relaxing you in the evening, they may also be waking you up. (Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2013 Apr;37(4):539-49.) Spicy Foods Spicy foods may cause heartburn and indigestion before bedtime. This can lead to discomfort when trying to fall asleep, and a less restful sleep during the night. They’ve even been known to cause bad dreams! If you’re going to have a little more spice at dinner, attempt to finish it 3-4 hours prior to bedtime. Unhealthy Fatty Foods Think fries, a big ole’ bacon cheeseburger, pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, onion rings, etc. Foods high in unhealthy fats not only add inches to your tummy, but may also lead to disrupted sleep. And unfortunately the cycle may continue, as disrupted sleep increases cravings the following day. THE BEST

  • Spinach

  • Bananas

  • Cherries

  • Chamomile Tea

  • Almonds

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Jasmine Rice

  • Oatmeal

  • Turkey (go for Nitrate/Nitrite-free)

Overall, no matter what you eat, try to stop eating at least three hours prior to bedtime. Want more tips to help you sleep? Join us in my Inner Fire Facebook group. This week I’m doing a Catch Your ZZZ’s 5-Day Challenge to practice implementing good sleep habits. Hope to see you there! Let’s get FIRED UPP, Nat

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