Blissful sleep at last! Winding down after a long day is the best reward possible. You want to do it right so you take care of everything: dimmed light, muted phone and a calming scent of essential oils. Your cheek finally touches a silk By Dariia Day pillow and you are ready to get some rest. However, something seems not to be right. Your mind gets cluttered with thoughts and you can’t sleep a wink. You start thinking of the reason for this frustrating situation but the culprit could be at the very end of your list.
Surprisingly, your stomach may be to blame for. What you eat (or rather what you stay away from consuming) before sleep plays an enormous role on how well you rest. Our digestive system is our second brain so when it is unhappy our whole body can’t relax properly. I decided to talk to an expert on the topic and find more on the connection between food and sleep. Kasia Kniola is a Polish nutritionist, wellness consultant and a model. Nobody can understand the “you are what you eat” concept better than her so grab her hand and let her show you all the wonders of your body.
Consume wisely, sleep better
In a perfect world we should eat our last meal two to three hours before going to bed. However, we all probably know this terrible sensation in the stomach. It takes a second to realise that we either eat something or we won’t sleep at all. “If you feel your stomach rumbling, you may eat a handful of nuts. But remember it should be a baby handful. Not more”, Kasia advises.
What about proper dinner or supper? When it comes to meals, they should contain one crucial element. Have you ever heard of tryptophan? This amino acid is turned into melatonin in your brain and helps you sleep better. If you eat meat, you will find it in chicken or turkey, and vegetarians will enjoy it in: brown rice, peas, pumpkin seeds, oats, figs, natural yoghurt and bananas. Tuna is a great source of tryptophan as well.
Does a perfect meal before sleep exist? Kasia believes it is nothing else but… porridge. “Oats have calming properties and help regenerate our nerves so think of changing the order of your meals. Instead of eating porridge for breakfast, try eating it at night”. Unprocessed food is always a good choice so in one word: healthy diet equals better sleep.
Is there anything to stay away from? Definitely heavy and fatty meals which may raise your body temperature, fill your stomach and cause indigestion. It is not a surprise to hear that this won’t help us fall asleep.
Certain drinks may affect your night’s rest as well. It is common knowledge that you should avoid caffeine and other psychoactive substances. Their boost of energy may help you during the day but at night they won’t let you sleep a wink. What to drink instead? Kasia mentions camomile tea, which can calm you down and help relax. Try drinking it instead.
Nature to your rescue
Great sleep is not only about products we don’t consume but also about those that make us rest better. Kasia strongly believes in the power of adaptogens. In a nutshell, they are plants which have a toning effect on our organism. They affect adrenal glands and promote homeostasis.
“When it comes to adaptogens, ashwagandha and reishi are the best ones to consume in the evening”, Kasia believes. You can also follow her steps and prepare a powerful drink which will improve your sleep:
Mix 1 teaspoon of cocoa, ½ teaspoon of reishi mushrooms, ½ teaspoon of ashwagandha in a cup of plant milk. Warm it slightly in a saucepan and your drink is ready. If you want, you can spice it up slightly: “I sometimes add a pinch of chili powder to give it more flavour”, Kasia says. This simple drink consumed before going to bed may greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
The importance of rituals
Great sleep isn’t only about what we consume or not shortly before going to bed. It is a sum of everything we eat in a day and how healthy and nutritious it was for the body. Each meal should be one step towards better rest at night so make it count.
Kasia also highlights the importance of sleep itself: “Lack of sleep or poor sleeping patterns make our immune system weaker. Stress triggers adrenal glands to secrete more adrenaline and cortisol. The higher the levels of these hormones, the more difficult it is to get some rest”.
That is why create your own ritual which will help you relax before going to bed. Try listening to white noise, meditate (you can try our silky meditation with Kate Hogan), put your silk By Dariia Day eye mask on or turn on your air humidifier with a touch or lavender oil. After all, you deserve the best sleep possible.
by Anna Sokołowska