What to Eat for an Energetic Day and Restful Sleep
Tired? Tips on what to eat for more energy and more restful sleep.
You know that sleep is important — but did you know that the foods you eat throughout the day can have a big impact on how you’re feeling, and how well you sleep at night?
Think about the way you want to feel and choose foods that support your goals of having an energetic day and a restful sleep.
Read on to learn how food can help you have a restful night of sleep.
First thing in the morning, you need a breakfast that gives you energy to start the day. It should sustain you through your morning — whether you’re helping your kids start their day, getting in a workout, or leading an 8 a.m. meeting.
According to the Harvard Medical School, the best breakfasts are filled with protein and whole grains. Oatmeal can be the base for the perfect breakfast to start your day. If you want a savory breakfast, try oatmeal with an egg and some chives. If you want a sweeter meal, enjoy your oatmeal with berries and walnuts. The best part? Oatmeal can be prepared the night before for a quick breakfast. Just because it’s a busy morning doesn’t mean you have to skip breakfast.
If you prefer a colder breakfast, whole grain cereals with fruit and almond milk can also boost your morning energy without relying on sugary coffee drinks.
- Oatmeal — savory or sweet
- Whole grain cereals with fruit and almond milk
When you have a 10 a.m. meeting, lunch can seem very far away. Keep snacks nearby that are portable, tasty and that will help you manage your growing hunger.
Choose for snacks filled with protein: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are filling even in small amounts, and have health benefits beyond keeping you full until lunch. To keep your snacks cost-effective and Earth-friendly, buy a bulk bag of your nuts of choice, and then portion it into reusable containers to keep near you while you work.
If nuts don’t work for you, string cheese and yogurt can both give you plenty of protein to help you stay satiated until lunchtime.
Mid-morning snack ideas:
- String cheese
Your midday meal break should fill you up and help you stay energetic throughout the rest of the day. Foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes, lentils and quinoa all have a low glycemic index. These foods will be digested slowly and keep your energy from spiking and crashing.
Pair those foods with lean proteins like chicken, and fruits like strawberries, avocados or bananas to fill you up with good sources of fiber.
- Brown rice, sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa
- Lean proteins
Before you decide on an afternoon snack, take a look at your schedule. Are you taking a yoga class after work? Consider a banana or a fruit smoothie with strawberries, oranges and spinach to make sure you have enough energy to power you through your workout. If your snack is there to tide you over until dinner, try a cup of air-popped popcorn to fill you up.
Afternoon snack ideas:
- Fruit smoothies with spinach
- Air-popped popcorn
When you’re looking to wind down your day and getting ready to sleep, tryptophan is the amino acid you want in your dinner. Tryptophan’s presence in turkey is something experienced every Thanksgiving, but you don’t have to wait until November to enjoy turkey. Ground turkey can make tasty tacos or burgers.
Dairy is also a source of tryptophan, so foods with cheese, yogurt and milk can help you sleep better. Omega-3 fatty acids promote a restful night’s sleep as well and can be found in high doses in fish like salmon and tuna.
Besides looking for soothing foods that will help you sleep, also keep in mind that caffeine sometimes lurks in unexpected places and it could work against you. Chocolate contains caffeine, with the darker varieties containing the most caffeine. Coffee is often used in baking chocolate goods like brownies and cake, so be sure not to overindulge on these items. Swap your after-dinner black tea with an herbal variety or leave it out completely.
For the most restful sleep, it’s best to avoid caffeine after noon. Why? Six hours after you ingest caffeine, half of it is still in your system, which can interrupt your sleep causing you to feel groggy in the morning. Get smarter about caffeine by reading this from the sleep experts at Sleep Number®.
- Meals with turkey, salmon or tuna
- Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk)
Even if you’ve done everything right, there are some nights when sleep won’t come along as quickly as you would like. Sometimes, a feeling of hunger may keep you awake.
On those evenings, consider drinking some chamomile tea or milk, avoiding alcohol, and eating a banana to get another dose of tryptophan before heading back to bed. Pineapple also has a high amount of tryptophan, so consider keeping some sliced in your refrigerator or freezer for nights when you need a little help getting to sleep.
Late-night snack ideas:
- Chamomile tea or milk
- Fruit, like banana or pineapple
Looking for more tips to improve your sleep quality? Take the Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number®, a free 30-day online wellness plan to improve your sleep habits so you learn to create a routine that works for you. Results show 82% of participants experience better sleep quality while 74% improve or change a poor sleep habit.
And, if you wake up groggy each morning, maybe it’s time to change your mattress. Science shows us that loss of sleep or poor sleep could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Quality sleep is a natural immune booster, helping your focus, mood, ability to manage stress, and reduces cravings for junk food. Compared to average sleepers, Sleep Number® bed owners enjoy almost an hour’s more sleep per night.*
Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.
*Based on self-reported hours of sleep from a general population survey compared to our SleepIQ® data.