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Food / Diet

Master These Lifestyle Routines for Better Sleep

Getting ready for a solid night of shut-eye starts long before you hit the sheets. These daily habits can set you up for success. What you do during the day affects how well you sleep at night. There are some obvious slumber interrupters—drinking too much coffee in the afternoon, say—but others are less apparent. Learn how to make a few simple changes to your daily routine to keep you on track for good sleep tonight. Eat Smart The first rule of sleep success: Don’t save your largest meal of the day for dinner. Going to bed with an overly full belly could keep you awake long after the lights go out. It’s also smart to pay attention…

Power (Down) Vitamins: Promote Better Sleep With Magnesium

The supplement claims to help you get a better night’s sleep. Learn what the science says about taking magnesium. Drugstore shelves are crowded with supplements that claim to promote sleep, and it can be hard to tell which over-the-counter remedies are most effective. One supplement with some science behind it is magnesium. Read on to find out if magnesium supplements are appropriate for you. What Is Magnesium? Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in keeping you healthy, including aiding with nerve and muscle function. You can find it in foods such as dark green veggies, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish. Most healthy people have normal levels of magnesium, but certain illnesses…

Debunking Sleep Myths: Does Alcohol Help or Hurt Your Sleep?

You may look forward to your nightcap, but a bedtime drink could backfire. Discover the link between alcohol and sleep disruptions. Whether with a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or whiskey on the rocks, many adults often wind down after a busy day with an alcoholic beverage. It may feel like it’s relaxing you, but is that drink actually helping you sleep better at night? Not exactly. Alcohol’s effect on the body is more complicated than you might think. It knocks you out… It’s true that alcohol is a depressant and has a sedative effect on your body, so indulging in an evening nightcap may raise your level of drowsiness and help you fall…

Good-for-You Foods and Drinks to Help You Sleep Better

Just like some foods can give you a huge boost of energy, others can make you feel pleasantly sleepy, meaning they’re perfect for eating with dinner or as an evening snack. These are five things—three foods and two drinks—that may improve your zzz’s. Whole grain crackers: You’ve probably heard of the sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan. It’s in foods like cheese and turkey (that’s why it’s often credited as the reason that Thanksgiving dinner is usually followed by a nap). But for the tryptophan to go to work, you also need complex carbohydrates. Eating whole grains like those in Kashi Original 7 Grain Crackers make the tryptophan in your body more…

Eat to Sleep Better in the New Year

Looking for a New Year’s resolution? How about improving your sleep through your diet? What you eat has more of an effect on how you snooze than you may think. Following these four simple food-related strategies can help you hit the sack better each night and feel more refreshed each morning. Healthy eating leads to healthy sleeping. A diet low in fiber and high in saturated fats could take a toll on your shuteye by decreasing the amount of deep, slow-wave sleep that you get during the night. Meanwhile, eating too much sugar could result in more midnight wake-ups. On the other hand, a healthy balanced diet that’s high in fiber and low in added sugars…

Sweet Dreams: How Sugar Impacts Your Sleep

Who doesn’t love a delicious after-dinner dessert? But digging into those cookies or that bowl of ice cream means that you’re pumping lots of added sugar into your body—something that can negatively impact the quality of your sleep. In fact, the more sugar that you eat during the day, the more often you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night. Even if you don’t fully wake up, the sugar in your system can pull you out of a deep sleep, making you feel exhausted the next day. On top of that, consuming too much sugar during the day can lead to an energy crash. Eating lots of sugar reduces the activity of…

Maximizing Sleep During Summer Travel

During a recent trip, my return flight was repeatedly delayed and ultimately cancelled. Automatically, the airline rebooked me for three flights that night so I would arrive at my destination mid-morning the next day. Instead, I chose to stay in a hotel overnight and travel during the day. It was an easy choice – I had no major obligations the following day, and, most importantly, I needed to sleep. Talking with fellow passengers in the long line as we waited to rebook our flights, it was interesting to hear how sleep factored into their decision. Some people were determined to travel as soon as possible, even if it meant multiple flights across the night. However, many recognized…

Healthy Cures for Bedtime Munchies

Sure, it’s best not to fill your belly with a heavy meal just before turning in, but a grumbling stomach isn’t a recipe for sweet dreams, either. Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s TV show Extreme Chef, is known for taking risks and putting together exciting new flavors. So before you reach for the same old cheese and crackers (boring!), try one of his light and nutritious evening snack ideas about an hour before bed Roasted Sweet Potatoes Chef roasts a dozen small sweet potatoes at a time in the oven, and then keeps them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go snack. He sprinkles them with nutmeg or Chinese five spice, and squeezes…

Is What You’re Eating Affecting Your Dreams?

Have you ever eaten a rich, cheesy dinner (hello, ravioli in Alfredo sauce!), gone to sleep, and had an absolutely horrible nightmare? If so, you might have wondered: Could the food and the bad dream be related? While there is no scientific proof that what you eat can affect your dreams, that doesn’t stop some people from believing that specific foods, like dairy products or spicy dishes, lead to bad dreams. And it isn’t that hard to see why there might there be a connection. After all, food impacts a lot of areas of your body besides your stomach. For instance, what you eat can affect your mood, how awake or sleepy you…

What is Tryptophan?

You’ve probably heard the claim that the reason you get sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is because turkey is high in something called tryptophan. But what, exactly, is tryptophan and does it really make you tired? The connection isn’t quite so direct. L-tryptophan (the full name) is an amino acid that’s found in foods like turkey, chicken, meat, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and fish. Your body uses tryptophan and turns it into a B vitamin called niacin. Niacin plays a key role in creating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s associated with sleep and melatonin levels (a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycles). And that’s where the whole “turkey makes you tired” connection comes in. But it’s not the…