Working out is great for your body and mind. It can also help you get a good night’s sleep. But, for some people, exercising too late in the day can interfere with how well they rest at night. People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise may see a difference in sleep quality that same night.
Aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins: these chemicals can create a level of activity in the brain that keeps some people awake. Individuals should exercise at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, giving endorphin levels time to leave and the brain time to wind down.
Exercise also raises your core body temperature: Elevation in core body temperature signals the body clock that it’s time to be awake. After about 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature starts to fall. The decline helps to facilitate sleepiness.
Did you know that what you consume before bedtime can affect your sleep? Here are a few foods and beverages to limit or avoid before bedtime:
- Alcohol: Research shows that healthy people who drink alcohol do fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply … at first. However, when alcohol wears off, it can wake people during very important and restorative stages of sleep. Alcohol can also worsen sleep apnea symptoms and, if used regularly, increase your likelihood of sleepwalking, sleep talking and memory problems. For better sleep enjoy a glass of tart cherry juice before bed. Tart cherries are a natural source of the sleep-including hormone melatonin.
- Spicy Foods: Eating spicy foods can cause heartburn, which can impact your sleep. When you lie down, that acid reflux often worsens. For better sleep avoid spicy foods within three hours of bedtime. Do the same with tomato sauce and other acidic foods if they give you heartburn or indigestion.
- High-fat and high-protein foods: High-protein foods like steak and chicken can also disrupt sleep because they take a long time to break down, which is a problem at bedtime since your digestion slows by up to 50% when you sleep. Also avoid aged or processed cheeses, salami and pepperoni, they contain tyramine, which triggers the release of norepinephrine, which may stimulate the brain. For better sleep eat complex carbohydrates such as whole-wheat toast or a bowl of oatmeal before bed. These foods will trigger the release of the sleepy hormone serotonin, and they don’t take long to digest.