January 15, 2021
I am hearing more and more sleep issues from my clients, especially during Covid-19. Whether it’s extra stress, anxiety, or change from our normal routines to lack of things that create balance and joy such as socialization and normalcy, I think we are all feeling it to some extent. I know my sleep is more disrupted than usual. I get you!
We know that sleep is so important. If you’ve ever had a sleepless night, you know your day is absolutely thrown off. But in the long run, science knows that lack of sleep affects your immune system (something so important especially during COVID), heart health, weight, memory, mood, concentration, learning, natural healing, longevity, youth, type 2 diabetes, etc. Sleep is also how our brain takes out trash and helps us deal with depression (negative thoughts).
Let’s start with foods we can add to improve sleep. Tryptophan and magnesium both aid with better sleep. Here are just some examples of foods with these components:
- Vegetables/Fruits: dark leafy greens, avocado, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, turnip greens, corn, asparagus, onions, seaweed, edamame, apples, bananas, peaches, pomegranates, grapes, tart cherries, olives, etc.
- Poultry: turkey & chicken
- Seafood: Salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, cod, shrimp, etc.
- Nuts/seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, etc.
- Legumes: black beans, kidney beans
- Grains: oatmeal, wheat, rice, barley, brown rice
- Potato with skin
Don’t forget these basic techniques for quality sleep:
Detox from technology at least 30 minutes before bed, take in outdoor light during the day, reduce caffeine especially later in the day, avoid long and/or late naps (less than 30 minutes before 2 pm is great), create consistent sleep time (even on weekends), avoid alcohol at night, create optimal bedroom environment (temperature, noise, and light exposure), relax before bed (read books, listen to music, take a bath, meditate), exercise regularly but not right before bed, avoid eating late (especially heavy, fatty, spicy foods), drink water early and not right before bed, evaluate your bed and pillow comfort, and try chamomile tea, valerian root tea, and/or lavender.
Sleep is so important and most Americans do not get enough. Here’s to a consistent and good night sleep for you!
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~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA