As you begin week three of the Bed & Bracket Sleep Challenge, it's time to acclimate your body to a proper diet so your sleep schedule falls in line. Nutrition is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle - what you put into your body affects every aspect of your health, including your overall sleep quality.
"TBTB is my sleep tip. I take Two Bottles To Bed at night and please know that I am talking about WATER bottles! During the night, even when I'm half asleep, I instinctively reach for the water to stay hydrated. If your bottles aren't empty by the time you have your first cup of coffee in the morning then you are not drinking enough water! Our bodies are made of 80% water and we need to be sure we keep replenishing the well!"
-Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, SHEEX Co-Founder
For our 7 challenges this week, we are asking participants to make changes to their diets and record these changes to better understand how nutrition is connected to the ability to fall (and stay) asleep. Certain foods greatly aid or hinder a good night's sleep based on the ingredients. You may know that coffee can help you wake up in the morning, but there is more to wakefulness than a jolt of caffeine. Complete these 7 nutrition and sleep challenges to take your sleep game to the next level:
1. Track your food intake throughout the day. Download a free nutrition and food tracker app on your smartphone to keep a running list of the foods you consume. For plenty of features, download MyFitnessPal, or if you want to keep it simple, opt for CRON-O-Meter. In the morning, record how restful your sleep was. As you continue this challenge, you will eventually notice patterns between your food and your sleep and can accordingly adjust your diet.
2. Avoid all caffeine after noon. We are serious - caffeine is a stimulant that impairs your ability to fall asleep. Skip the late night cup of tea and do not even indulge in decaf! Decaf coffee has as much caffeine as a soda, up to 12 milligrams. Chocolate is also packed with caffeine. Do not consume any caffeinated foods or beverages and track your sleep to observe the effects.
3. Skip problem foods at night. Spicy foods can raise your body temperature and inhibit your body's ability to cool down, not to mention they can cause heartburn. The fiber in dried fruits can cause gas and cramping at night that will make you toss and turn. Sugary foods and foods high in sodium will negatively affect your nervous system, keeping your mind running. So what to eat before bed? Approved nighttime foods are small servings of carbohydrates and protein, like cereal and milk.
4. Prepare your breakfast the night before. Skipping breakfast during a rushed morning can make your hunger linger all day, making you prone to unwise nighttime snacking in the evening. Break the cycle by making your breakfast the day before - prepare some fruit, boil a few eggs, and have a cup of Greek yogurt and nuts ready to go as you leave for work.
5. Eliminate alcohol. We know that a glass of wine with dinner does not create any serious health issues, but avoid the alcoholic beverages tonight. While wine may make you seem sleepier at night, alcohol will cause you to wake up more frequently during your sleep cycle. For a deeper sleep, stick to water.
6. Plan your daily water intake. When it comes towater, controlling how much you consume throughout the day will help you avoid the nightly run to the restroom. Start off strong early in the day and drink most of your recommended daily water intake by dinner. Taper off your water consumption during the last three hours of the evening.
7. Have a nightcap of bedtime tea. Certain tea blends intended for bedtime infuse the tea with natural ingredients and herbs like chamomile to calm your body before you drift off to sleep. You have probably heard of the popular Sleepytime brand, but visit your local grocer and pick up any brand of nighttime herbal tea that seems ideal to you. Use your email address to sign up for the SHEEX Bed & Bracket Sleep Challenge this week, and you will be automatically entered to win our grand prize: a complete SHEEX Performance Sleep System! Winners of that prize and this week's prize will be notified via email. Return next week for our final theme and 7 more sleep challenges to induce better, deeper sleep. Share your Sleep Challenge success stories with us on social media and use the hashtag #ScoreWithSHEEX. This week complete our 7 nutrition-centric challenges to cut out problem foods and eat your way to seven hours of rejuvenating rest.