The Bedding Snob

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Snobbish Thoughts February 2017

A Guide to Choosing the Right Foods for Great Sleep

We’re all guilty of the occasional late night snack…

foodcoverBut did you know that certain foods can actually affect the quality of your sleep, both negatively and positively?

While everyone is aware of the turkey-induced sleep coma associated with Thanksgiving, often mistakenly attributed to tryptophan, studies have shown that we tend to fall asleep after big meals simply from overeating.

That’s not always a good thing however, as overeating certain foods, such as too much protein, can inevitably lead to restlessness later in the night as your body works overtime to digest everything.

If you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep with a more balanced diet, check out the list of foods below and try to incorporate some into your nightly routine.

The Good

 

bananaBananas

Everyone knows that sugary foods aren’t the best option before bedtime, but if you’re craving something sweet it’s perfectly fine to reach for a piece of fruit! Bananas make an especially great choice at night because they are full of snooze-inducing carbohydrates.

 

cherriesCherries

Perhaps you don’t think of this ice-cream topper as an ideal snack to catch some z’s, but you’d be surprised to find out that the tart fruit helps to naturally raise levels of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone produced by the body.

 

cerealCereal/Oatmeal

Loaded with fortified carbohydrates to help raise insulin production, cereal and oatmeal are just the thing to ease your mind and prepare your body for bed. Just make sure you choose a healthy whole-grain option, and not something that resembles a bowl of candy.

 

teaValerian/Chamomile Tea

Valerian Root and Chamomile are long-purported to have mild sedative qualities, making them the perfect choice for a relaxing nighttime beverage.

 

 

almondsAlmonds/Walnuts

Loaded with magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant, these nuts are a great choice for a quick and easy snack before bed.

 

 

 

milkMilk

Warm milk has long been associated with sleep, and for good reason. Filled with calcium, it helps release melatonin and promote relaxation and sleepiness.

 

 

 

lettuceLettuce

Believe it or not, lettuce reportedly has a unique nutrient known as lactucarium that has been shown to provide a sleep-inducing effect similar to that of opium. For a tasty tea, simply steep the plant in hot water and a little mint.

 

jasmine riceJasmine Rice

Studies have shown that people who ate rice, namely Jasmine Rice, a few hours before bedtime, were able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The reason is believed to be the high-glycemic index, which raises blood sugar levels and promotes sleep.

hummusHummus

Rich in vitamin B-6, this quick and easy snack is the ideal treat before bedtime.

 

 

 

 

salmonSalmon

While protein in general takes a long time for the body to digest, a little fish before bedtime can still be helpful as part of dinner. Loaded with b-vitamins, they’re an ideal protein source for late in the day meals.

 

popcornPopcorn

Low in fat and high in carbs, this movie-favorite will have you sleeping soundly in no time. Just be sure to choose a healthy option and not to overdo it!

 

 


 

The Not So Good…

 

coffeeCoffee

It almost  goes without saying that stimulants of any kind are probably not the best choice when you’re trying to wind down to go to sleep. Same goes for energy drinks of all varieties as well, whether they’re sugar free or not.

 

alcoholAlcohol

While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, the effects are often-short lived as our bodies become dehydrated, causing us to awake in the night and not enter the crucial REM stage for deep sleep. Not to mention an excessive intake of fluids in and of itself can leave you stumbling for the restroom in the middle of the night.

 

dark chocIce Cream/Milk Chocolate

Unfortunately that after-dinner desert may be just the thing keeping you up at night. Because it contains caffeine, chocolate is best avoided at night.

 

chickenChicken

Believe it or not, most protein sources, even lean ones such as chicken and turkey, are not great to eat before bed. The reason? Protein takes longer for the body to digest, which is what makes it great to eat during the day, keeping you full, but not before bed.

 

fast foodFast-Food

Filled with fat and sodium, increasing acid production and dehydration, there’s really not much of an argument to eat fast food in the first place, so you definitely want to avoid it when you’re trying to fall asleep.

 

 

 


Next time you’re feeling hungry before bed, skip the bowl of ice cream and grab something carbo-licious.

And remember, even though these foods are considered healthy, you’re still going to want to watch your portion size before bedtime. Sweet dreams!

New Apps for Better Sleep

Can  Smartphones actually help us sleep better?

ipad-249417_1280

If you sleep next to your smartphone at night, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, a staggering 71% percent of Americans bring their phones to bed. And while that number may be shocking, it’s not entirely surprising.

As smartphones continue to become a more ubiquitous part of our culture, our devices tend to stay glued to our side at all times – even when we sleep. But can smartphones actually help us sleep instead of keeping us awake at night? Turns out that might be true.

While light from electronic devices has been shown to interrupt sleep, many app developers are now trying to create programs that actually help us sleep, not hinder it. From alarm clocks, to podcasts, we’ll check out the latest in sleep tech and let you know what works and what kept us up at night.

Using Apps to Your Advantage

sleephoneClock App

For those of us with iPhone’s, the latest update included a special “bedtime” function within the existing clock app that allows you to add a separate alarm just for sleep.

To access the app, you simply go to the clock, and select the “bedtime” tab to set a specific time, sound and frequency. Pretty neat!

SleepCycle

If you’re curious about the quality of your sleep, you may want an app that can help you keep track of the exact number of hours you spend slumbering. That’s where Sleepcycle comes in.

This nifty app uses the iPhone accelerometer (tracks acceleration and provides data for a variety of functions) to record your sleep patterns and report back with a detailed log on your sleep habits.

Over time the app will use the data to provide a custom alarm clock to wake you based on your individual sleeping habits!

Similar apps for Android phones exists as well, Sleep As Android, and SleepBot.

pzizzzInsomni-App’s

Are you struggling to fall asleep at night? Before you rush out to the store and buy an expensive noise canceling machine, or similar sound generator, check for an app!

If you enjoy listening to the sounds of the ocean, an exotic rain forest, or any other soothing sounds, check out the “Sleep” app, which lets you customize your favorite soothing tones and fall asleep in no time.

Interested in more of a blanket white noise sound? Noisli, available for iPhone and Android, may be more your speed. The app allows you to create custom mixes of different white noises and save them for use anytime, anywhere.

A new app called Pzizz is even more innovative! Pzizz uses a unique combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to create a one-of-a-kind soundscape that you personalize to lull yourself to sleep.

awokenGet Lucid!

Have you ever heard of lucid dreaming? It’s the phenomenon that you can wake up within your dreams and actually take control of the environment around you.

Awoken helps train your brain to lucid dream by sending audio cues to you while you are sleeping to let you know that you aware of the fact you are dreaming.

There’s also a handy journal you can use to take notes and boost your memory of dreams. Far out!

You’re Getting Sleepy…

Have you ever considered using hypnosis to get better sleep? Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis does just that. Using guided meditation, the app teaches users meditation and self-hypnosis as a means to soothe yourself to sleep.

deepsleepDigipill is another guided meditation app in which users can select the type of meditation they want (pill) and fall asleep, including everything from stopping smoking, to easing stress and preventing insomnia.

For even more guided sleep, check out Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson! Used to treat anxiety and stress, this app is based off the best-selling authors CD’s and guides users through step-by-step meditation in order to ease the mind and fall to sleep.

Talk, Talk, Talk

If you prefer the sound of someone talking you to sleep, you should check out podcasts.

Podcasts are essentially mini radio programs covering any subject imaginable that you can download to your smartphone and listen to at your leisure.

One of the most popular sleep-related podcasts, Sleep With Me Podcast, is hosted by a former librarian, Drew Ackerman, who deliberately speaks in a monotone voice while discussing various topics in order to lull you to sleep.

The objective of the podcast is for Ackerman to be as dull as possible, and the unique approach has helped many fall asleep.

For those who are fans of Game of Thrones, the host has an equally soporific podcast, entitled Game of Drones, in which he provides recaps of previous episodes, all with a signature lull.

If you’re into meditation, check out the Daily Meditation Podcast, for short instructive meditations on a variety of topics.

If you’re struggling to fall asleep, forget counting sheep and get creative.

Have you ever used an app to help you sleep? Share your experience in the comments!

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