Sleep Awareness Week is next week from March 13th– 19th. The National Sleep Foundation created this week to reemphasize the importance of the connection of sleep and health. Their theme this year is “Best Slept Self”.
The Chapters Health system has outlined some sleep practices for you to start implementing and achieving the best quality sleep:1
#1: Have a Bedtime Routine
It’s important to have a bedtime routine, so your body recognizes that you are starting to wind down and you can peacefully drift off into a sleep.
What might this look like?
- Take a warm bath or shower with calming soap scents.
- Write out any current worries that you may have in a list form and decide to deal with them the next day.
- Listen to meditating music.
#2: Watch What You Eat and Drink
Eating heavy before bed can hinder sleep. When you consume a heavy meal towards the end of your day, your stomach and intestines must start working on digesting it which can take multiple hours. You should also avoid fatty, acidic, and spicy foods that can irritate the stomach and cause heart burn.
So, what if you are craving a late-night snack, what can you eat before bed? The Huffington Post asked nutritionists to provide some of their top picks which are as follows:
- Contains potassium and tryptophan. Potassium is a natural muscle relaxant which helps with sleep. Tryptophan helps make melatonin and serotonin which is necessary for the sleep cycle.
- Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
- The peanut butter contains protein and fat while the rice cake has carbs. This combination will help balance your blood sugar throughout the night.
- Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
- These are the best go to snacks to have before bed. They contain Vitamin-D which has an important role in the production of melatonin. You want to make sure you have enough Vitamin-D in your body before you go to bed.
You can find the full list of recommended snacks here.
#3: Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a drug that increases the activity in your brain and nervous system. It can remain in your system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption and can cause your deep stages of sleep to be disrupted. The Daily Meal gives examples of foods and drinks that you may be surprised contain caffeine:2
- Oreos: One Oreo contains 1.3 milligrams.
- Decaf Coffee: One cup contains between 8 to 14 milligrams.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies: One cup of milk chocolate chips contains about 33.6 milligrams.
You may be thinking that just one Oreo wouldn’t hurt before bed, but even a small amount of caffeine can affect your sleep. The average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is 95 milligrams. It’s best to limit or avoid these types of food and drink items before bed.
#4: Exercise Consistently
Exercise has been known to improve sleep. However, the types of workouts you do can affect how well you sleep. It is not recommended to exercise intensely 3 to 4 hours before bed because it will increase your heart rate and make it more difficult to sleep. If you choose to exercise before bed, try yoga so that your body starts to wind down and prepare itself for rest.
Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program
Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!