Sleeping is an activity that we do not do enough of even though it is a great way to reset your body and mind. As endurance athletes it is even more important that we get enough sleep as that aids in recovery. Not everybody can take a nap during the day, although I have mastered the art of sleeping at my desk sitting up and making it look like I am working (not really, but that would be a heck of a talent!) This time of the year we tend to get stressed out with what to buy for our family and friends. What are we going to wear to the 10 holiday parties we have to attend? Having to travel in poor weather conditions adds to our stress and all of this has an effect on our health and how we sleep. I am very fortunate in that when the day is done the day is done. I put my phone away for at least one hour per night and while it is ringing and buzzing out of control I fight the urge to get up and answer it. I think this helps me to sleep soundly through the night. Another factor in how I am capable of falling asleep without any worries: What I eat.
Food is a big component to being able to sleep well, but it isn’t just any food. There are certain foods that will help aid in your ability to fall asleep and allow your body to heal itself from the days stresses. This is not a comprehensive list but these are foods that you can find at any grocery store and can also combine to make a meal sure enough to allow you put your head on the pillow and wake up when the alarm goes off.
Foods That Aid In Helping You Sleep
- Fresh Herbs
- Lean Protein
- Heart Healthy Fat (nuts, eggs, avocado)
- Jasmine Rice
- Fortified Cereals
Ideas Of Meals To Combine Sleep Aiding Foods
- Slice bananas and cherry chunks into a bowl of fortified cereal with unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
- Roasted chickpeas with cilantro on top of a bowl of jasmine rice.
- Hard boiled eggs. This satisfies both the lean protein and heart healthy fat listings.
- On a slice of sprouted bread add hummus (chickpeas!) and a hard-boiled egg that is all topped with fresh sage
Your meals do not have to be complicated to be tasty and at the same time help you sleep. For example, my dinner tonight will be roasted acorn squash stuffed with roasted chickpeas, vegetables and cilantro. Very simple but very tasty and a sleep aid in chickpeas will be included.
To stay with the sleep theme I was at my company’s Top 100 Companies of Dallas luncheon a few weeks ago and the guest speaker was Dr James B Maas. He was very enlightening in terms of sleep and how it effects us. One item that stuck out to me was the need for us, as adults, to average 7.1 hours of sleep per night. This puts us in the optimal position to succeed the next day. These days I try to get close to that number and some days I am spot on at 7 hours and other days I am at 6-6.5. On those days when I get less I can feel the affects toward the end of the night.