Eat plant-based. Get lean. Sleep better?
Everyone has a specific winding down routine to end their day. Whether it is taking a warm shower or enjoying a warm cup of chocolate, how you maintain the schedule is dependent on the benefits you reap. As much as bedtime practices help with settling down for bed, diet plays an essential role in ensuring you sleep better for longer.
Talking of diet, it goes beyond having a balanced diet. Nutritional deficiency of one kind or another can cause trouble falling asleep. In fact restless legs syndrome is just one of the hidden dietary deficiencies strongly affecting falling and staying asleep. The measurements of the different types of food indicate whether or not you can sleep better.
On this note, vegans seem to be enjoying more hours of quality sleep; thanks to the food composition involved.
Let’s expand more on what exactly makes vegans sleep better.
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It is said that those that eat more plant-based foods have increased productivity and high levels of concentration. Equally, they are more likely to enjoy a good night’s sleep and prevent sleeping disorders such as insomnia. This is because the food groups they choose are made of vegetables and legume which are pretty easy to digest. While this is quite beneficial for rest, you cannot overlook the many other benefits going by a plant-based diet has to your general body activity.
You might be wondering why protein-packed foods might not be the best for bedtime. Proteins, especially those from animal sources are harder to digest that plant-based one. This is because they require extra energy and more time to break down completely. This process eventually makes it harder to sleep through the night.
While plant protein seems easier to digest than animal-based protein, they still require quite a process to break down completely. Generally, protein lowers the production of serotonin making it even harder to fall asleep as expected. One thing to note however is that as much as strict vegans skip on some meals, they should supplement nutrients such as calcium.
Vegans omit dairy products from their diet which is known as some of the best sources of calcium in the diet. Calcium is essential in the body processes including proper sleep process since calcium is a natural sedative. Luckily, those that consider taking plant-based foods can still get the nutrient from other sources other than dairy products. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Calcium for adults over age 18 is 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Excellent nondairy sources of calcium needed to meet the daily requirements include leafy green vegetables such as kale and collard greens, canned sardines, sesame seeds and almonds. For those not getting enough calcium from dietary sources taking a calcium-magnesium supplement which is ideally should be taken half an hour before going to bed. When calcium is paired with magnesium it helps with muscle relaxation, pain relief from cramps or spasms which can help with staying asleep.
Other micronutrients such as Vitamin B6 are also essential for quality sleep. These come from whole foods such as grains and vegetables. Fruits such as avocados, sweet potatoes, and green vegetables are packed with Vitamin B6, magnesium and tryptophan. These micronutrients have shown significance in helping with quality sleeping routines.
Away from the vitamins and protein, carbohydrates are also useful for sleep. However, complex carbs are recommended over the simple ones to reap the benefits. However, you should take the time to study how long it takes you to start falling sleepy after a carb meal. This way, you can plan earlier to ensure proper digestion before bedtime.
While selecting carbs, however, it is essential to choose whole foods such as grains, brown rice, potatoes, and quinoa. As the night approaches, the portion of carbohydrates should be the smallest in your food groups. This is because carbs are meant to be energy-giving foods that might not apply if you intend to rest. A digital food scale can help measure the different foods to follow the daily recommended portions.
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Some nuts such as almonds have a high supply of magnesium which is known for muscle relaxation and sleep promotion. Also, nuts have proteins that help to maintain stable levels of sugar during sleep helping you to remain asleep all through the night. More to this, almonds have tryptophan which contributes to serotonin production… and sweet dreams. A great evening snack for vegans to help deal with insomnia is a high-protein/low-glycemic snack like a banana with peanut butter.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Green vegetables and herbs such as parsley and mint help in improving the body’s reaction to stress. These foods help to improve the functions of the internal systems for better rest. Also, these foods are rich sources of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Like nuts, seeds are rich sources of magnesium, zinc, vitamins, and selenium that come in handy in the relaxation process of the body. Cereals such as chia and pumpkin have high levels of tryptophan and together with zinc help to convert it to serotonin. On the other hand, flax seeds help to increase serotonin which is responsible for regulating sleep. More to this, the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce stress and anxiety for better rest.
These are known for their high composition of potassium and fiber. But, bananas also contain magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6 which actively improve the mood to feel relaxed and calm. The magnesium and potassium together help to relax the muscles for better sleep.
From the food groups that vegans consider, it is clear that choosing vegetables, fruits, plant-based protein and complex carbs can help with better sleep. Not only do these foods promote a healthy lifestyle but help to keep the body processes at optimal performance. And, this includes resting better and enjoying quality sleep throughout the night. Indeed vegans enjoy quality sleep but of course with consideration of other factors that affect sleep patterns.