Sleep

“SLEEP! We all know it’s important, yet we find ourselves struggling to get enough.

Lack of sleep can hinder skill-based tasks and workouts, increase risk of illness and injury, ramp up the inflammatory stress hormone cortisol (which is responsible for abdominal fat storage), and more. Lack of sleep also influences your urge to grab sugar-loaded snacks to act as a temporary energy boost. While it can be hard to find more time to get additional shut-eye, there are a few things you can do throughout the day to increase the quality of your sleep. You might be surprised to learn dietary practices play a large role in avoiding the downfalls of fatigue and reaping the benefits of good sleep.

Here are some things to avoid for better sleep this summer:

·        Caffeine: with a lifespan of around 7 hours, consuming caffeine late in the day can seriously disrupt sleep. Aim to stop caffeine consumption (coffee, espresso, soda, energy drinks, caffeinated teas, etc.) 7-8 hours before bed.

·        Alcohol: the effects of alcohol can greatly reduce sleep quality. Try to avoid drinking every night and when you do indulge, try to keep the dose low.

·        Heavy meals: when the stomach is full of slow-digesting, heavier foods, there can be an uncomfortable feeling that keeps you from falling asleep, along with an increase in restlessness. Large meals also increase body temperature, which contradicts the drop in body temperature that happens naturally during sleep. Be mindful of portion sizes throughout the day to ensure you’re not over doing it at dinner.

·        Hunger: at the opposite end of the spectrum, low-calorie intake throughout the day also promotes poor sleep. Severe calorie restriction can lead to uncomfortable hunger pains during the night, causing you to wake up. Again, make sure you’re mindful of portion sizes throughout the day to ensure you’re getting enough calories.

For more tips, visit this MyFitnessPal link. Remember, the best way to improve your sleep naturally is to have a well-balanced diet with plenty of variety.”

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