How did you sleep last night? We hope you slept like a baby, since the medical benefits of a good night's rest simply cannot be overemphasized. “Sleep is vital for allowing your brain to regenerate after a long day, and being well-rested helps to keep your body healthy and trim,” explains Dr. Robert Glatter, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “The end result is lower blood pressure and a more favorable lipid profile, reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome, which is associated with elevated cholesterol and central abdominal fat. This, in turn, reduces your risk of a heart attack.”
Dr. Glatter goes on to explain that “What we eat and our resulting quality of sleep can also provide insight into the relationship to obesity. Just as a balanced diet can help produce better sleep quality, it's clear that those who sleep better — i.e. for more total hours — seem to be better able to maintain their body weight. We know that lack of sleep in fact stimulates production of a hormone called ghrelin which can lead to overeating. The more hours you sleep, the fewer calories you will consume the following day.”
According to Dr. Glatter, a good night’s rest may also help to “reduce stress, reduce risk for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, and help improve memory and ability to focus and stay on task the following day, which can have a greater positive impact on life expectancy."
All that sounds absolutely dreamy, but can we really make a good night's sleep a daily feature in our lives? Sadly, getting a decent amount of shut-eye often proves to be elusive. According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 48 million American adults have reported suffering from insomnia at some point in their lives. Everything from the temperature in your bedroom, to muscle pain, to the amount of light shining out from our digital gadgets and gizmos, will have an impact on the quality of your sleep.
What you eat during the day has a huge effect on how you’ll sleep that night. “The bottom line is that our diet has a direct relationship to how well we sleep,” saysDr. Glatter. “While most people realize that eating a large meal before bedtime is a bad idea, we now understand that not eating for three hours before bed is optimal for getting a more restful night's sleep. This will allow your body to decompress and more effectively release melatonin, a hormone released in the brain, which promotes sleep.”
If you’ve been struggling to get a good night's sleep, read on as our experts reveal the 12 foods and drinks you should try to avoid before hitting the sack. Take their advice and hopefully you will be sleeping like a baby tonight!
This article was originally published on March 10th 2015.