Following on from Part 1 of Eating Your Way To A Great Nights Sleep, I hope you've had a chance to try out some of the tips for breakfast, snacks and lunch. Today we're going to look at how to handle the second half of your day. Even if you just try a couple of the tips, I'm sure you'll start feeling the benefits of improved sleep very soon.
Peckish at 4pm? Your afternoon snack should be fruit that's high in vitamin C as this helps to reduce stress. Choose your snack carefully as not all fruits are created equally - this chart will help you size up your options. Fruit Tip - Eating a couple of oat cakes at the same time will slow the release of the fruit sugars into your system.
Dinner Choose an evening meal that contains a small amount of brown rice which is a good source of B-Vitamins to keep your system running calmly and smoothly. Combine this with grilled salmon or tuna steak and some green vegetables. Oily fish will give you another burst of tryptophan and the green vegetables contain magnesium to help calm you through the evening. A lack of magnesium can leave you feeling jumpy so top-up on your greens.
A Glass of Wine with Dinner? If you like to have an alcoholic drink in the evening, have it with your meal as this will limit any drastic impact on your blood sugar levels that could cause disrupted sleep later on. And stick to one or two drinks maximum. The same rule applies here as with the caffeinated drinks earlier in the day - enjoy the first and then ask yourself do you really want any more or would you rather have a good night's sleep? Ideally, avoid caffeine after midday and allow your body to rid its effects from your body in time for bed.
A little treat If you've got a sweet tooth and like chocolate then the end of the day is the best time to indulge yourself. Choose a couple of squares of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids for a burst of feel-good chemicals followed a slight drop in blood sugar to ease you off to sleep. Stop after a couple of squares though and don't feel obliged to finish it all in one go!
Nightcap A good quality hot chocolate is even better as the calcium in the milk helps to calm your mind while the drink will cause your body temperature to be raised slightly and then it will cool. This temperature cooling simulates what happens when you sleep and can help you to drop off more quickly.