The other day I had someone ask me, “Audra, what’s the number one food that you avoid when you want to sleep better?”
I know right. I can almost hear you let out an enormous sigh. Damn it! We all love sugar – especially when we’re sleep deprived!
But the thing is, our bodies need nutrients – not sugar.
Yes, sugar can give us an energy boost, but too much sugar, on the other hand, can cause something called hypoglycemia, where the blood sugar ends up dropping quite severely, leading to an energy slump later on.
Not ideal when you’re trying to pry your eyes open from getting up at “stupid o’clock”, or trying to stay awake during the night shift.
But getting back to nutrients.
Nutrients = information, and sugar, especially the highly refined and processed sugar found in most processed and takeaway foods do not contain nutrients, and this can cause problems. Especially on our sleep.
Let me explain.
We have literally billions of chemical reactions going on in our body every second, and these reactions need vitamins and minerals to make them work.
For example, Magnesium, which is hugely important for:
– relieving stress,
– lowering blood pressure,
– relaxing muscles and,
– calming our nervous system, is also required in
– the synthesis of melatonin, our sleep-regulating hormone.
So if your diet consists of a lot of highly refined and processed foods (AKA sugar), then you’re going to be depleted of nutrients such as Magnesium, and your body will be unable to make the necessary hormones for relaxation and sleep.
And here’s the other kicker. Too much sugar depletes the body of nutrients – so it’s a real catch-22! For example, for every molecule of sugar our bodies use, 54 molecules of magnesium are required to process it.
OK. That’s all well and good Audra, so what should I do instead?
Well, essentially two things.
Number 1 – gradually remove sugar from your diet, because the more you eat it, the more your body craves it! Start small – even just cut back how much you’re adding to your tea and coffee each day (or night), will make a difference in how well you sleep.
Number 2 – incorporate more whole, real foods into your diet. Foods that don’t come with an ingredients label such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats.
Because real foods leave you feeling fuller for longer, so that you don’t crave the sugar in the first place, and most importantly, supply your body with the essential nutrients to help you to feel calm and relaxed – so that you can sleep so much better!!
A win-win for anyone working 24/7 – as I’m sure you would agree!
P.S: If you’re more of a visual person, I’ve just released my brand new project for 2020 – Healthy Shift Worker TV, so you can now watch what you’ve just read (including a few added facial expressions and hand animations!!) by Clicking Here!
P.P.S – you will hear the hum of my air-conditioner in the background because it was an incredibly hot day yesterday when I recorded it!!
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