Everyone wants a good night’s sleep that leaves them feeling rested and rejuvenated. This goal may become frustratingly elusive and causes some individuals to seek solutions by taking sleeping pills.
Or, you may have heard that eating a late night snack can cause weight gain. So you ignore those late night hunger pangs that can lead to insomnia and make the sacred vow to not allow a bite of food to pass your lips after 7:00 P.M.
The vote seems to be split regarding solutions for getting that needed good night sleep.
For some, eating the right kind of snack for their body chemistry at bed time may do the trick and help them to rest. Dr. Ashwin Mecta, M.D. makes the following three food suggestions.
1. Apple. An apple is a very nutritiously dense food that is rich in soluble fiber, which expands in your digestive system. It makes you feel full and provides sweetness without raising blood sugar levels too high.
2. Pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and edamame can help cause restful sleep.
3. Steel-cut oatmeal contains soluble fiber that can keep you feeling full throughout the night. Make certain the small bowl you eat is “Irish oats” that are steel-cut and not other forms.
Remember that for those of you who may be insulin resistive or diabetic eating a carbohydrate can cause a rise in the storage hormone insulin, which can stop fat-burning. That can be a disaster for your metabolism in the late evening hours as your metabolism winds down. As an alternative consider slow digesting protein.
Protein provides your body with a steady flow of amino acids which can help your body recover from exercise and stress. It also helps maintain calorie-burning lean muscle if you are trying to lose fat.
My favorite choices are:
1. Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese digests very slow and coats the stomach to be assimilated by the body over many hours. It stimulates glucagon release which is why it makes an ideal bed time choice. Eat only plain cottage cheese, not the flavored varieties with added sugars or fruit.
2. White meat protein. White meat from chicken and turkey are good choices. They digest slowly and have very low insulin release. They promote release of the hormone glucagon which assists the body with breaking down stored carbs and fat for being burned for energy. Don’t eat red meat or the dark meat from chicken or turkey at bed time. They have a significantly higher insulin response than white meat.
3. Green vegetables. These can be a diet savior. Eating a bowl of green veggies kills late night cravings. They contain virtually no calories, are high in fiber, and they’re very filling.
Sometimes the feeling of hunger or the craving for food can be confused for thirst. Make certain you are drinking one half of your body weight in ounces each day of clean, pure water. Although a lot of professionals say that drinking juice, beverages, tea, coffee, etc. can be counted towards your water requirement, my education makes a distinction and classifies drinking anything other than pure water triggers the body to metabolize any beverage, juice etc. as a food and will not hydrate the body sufficiently.
Although eating a food at bed time can be helpful for sleep, don’t overlook using Kela S, Kela M and Kela Chromium. During the day there can be stress, aches and pain triggered from over exertions, mental fatigue, deadlines, and the inability to turn off your brain so that you can relax and sleep. These three supplements are excellent support for assisting the body and brain to unwind, relax, and allow natural sleep to take place. Kela Chromium can support the adrenal glands to lower cortisol back to a normal healthy level. Sometimes in the course of stress, the fight or flight response can trigger the adrenal glands to release more cortisol so that you can “run away from the tiger” or commonly called the “fight and flight” response. For some individuals their body may be slow to return to their normal stable level of cortisol. Kela Chromium will support and assist the body with returning to its normal healthy level. Kela S supplies the minerals calcium and magnesium for support for back, bones, tendons, and ligament health. Sitting at a desk doing repetitive work can place a strain on our structural system as can physical lifting, hauling, driving etc. The body is a marvelous creation but like any piece of equipment it requires normal healthy support. Likewise, the muscle and nervous system require sufficient magnesium and manganese to support healthy muscles and nerves. When these minerals become limited in the body, normal muscle stress relief, tightness, and swelling can occur in the course of an active day.
If the inability to have a restful night’s sleep becomes a perpetual, on-going issue, please check with your health care professional before taking self medicating drugs from your pharmacy. Adjust your diet as needed, use Life Zone supplements when appropriate, drink sufficient water, and take care of the stresses in your life.
Dr. Janeel Henderson