Leading sleep nutrition expert Olivia Arezzolo warns of the ripple effect diet can have on sleep and overall health when good nutrition goes out the window during stressful or busy periods.
New data from the number one global nutrition and food tracking app, MyFitnessPal reveals that one in six (60 per cent) Australians admit to sleep being the number one aspect in their lives impacted by stress. Attempting to get more sleep was also listed as the biggest priority (42 per cent) for Australians during stressful times.
Half (50 per cent) of Aussies admit they turn to sugary or high-fat snacks during late night hours at least once a week. This could have negative consequences for sleep as respondents who did this were also more likely to state their sleep quality had worsened over the past year (40 per cent compared to 20 per cent average).
“Sleep is intrinsically linked to the food we eat, so it’s not surprising to see that sleep is suffering the most during busy and stressful times, such as the holidays,” said Arezzolo.
“While it’s unrealistic to expect that the majority of Australians will completely cut comforting foods off their diet, knowing which snacks to incorporate and eat more of, can make a significant difference in getting a good night’s rest,” continued Arezzolo.
With the stress of the holiday period coming up, Olivia has shared her five top snacks for a blissful sleep.
Fruit is not only a fantastic way to get your essential intake of vitamins and minerals, but eating certain fruits such as kiwis before bed may also help you get better sleep. These bright green fruits have been shown to have some sleep-inducing properties thanks to their natural richness in serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in our body that plays a large role in many sleep mechanisms.
A banana and strawberry smoothie
Who doesn’t love a sweet treat before bedtime? A fruit smoothie can do just the trick, while offering a healthier alternative to sugar-rich processed desserts.
With bananas containing nutrients like potassium and magnesium, alongside the antioxidants and vitamin C found in strawberries, these two popular fruits are a great combination for a tasty and sleep-inducing smoothie.
A can of tuna or fatty fish
Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, are an incredible source of protein and an unexpected ally when trying to get better sleep. What makes them unique is their exceptional amounts of vitamin D and omega 3, which have the potential of enhancing sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin.
A handful of almonds
Eating almonds regularly not only has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but it’s also linked to improved sleep quality. This is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of the sleep regulating hormone melatonin.
Sour cherry juice
Last but not least, tart cherries are one of the key foods to start including in daily diets when trying to get more restful sleep. Thanks to high levels of melatonin, drinking tart cherry juice increases melatonin availability in the body and can promote better sleep quality.
MyFitnessPal’s recently launched ‘Sleep’ app integration has been created to help users more easily keep track of how their food choices impact their sleep – giving them insights into their ‘wellness trifecta’ in one place.
By presenting users with sleep cycle information using data from connected sleep devices (such as Apple Watch or FitBit), alongside their food diary, users can see how their nutritional choices are impacting their sleep and overall well being.
Alongside its new sleep integration, MyFitnessPal is offering members a free ‘Eat Right, Sleep Tight’ plan that aims to help users break the cycle of exhaustion with a 5 day plan that addresses meal timing, hydration, and a bedtime routine for a restful, restorative night’s sleep.