06 May The 3 Biggest Sleep and Food Myths, Debunked
Sleep. We all know it’s important but we don’t always prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. How much sleep should you get? Can you eat late at night? I’m so excited that my friend and fellow registered dietitian, Karmen Meyer, wrote a much needed book to help better understand what to eat in order to catch our zzz’s. Eat to Sleep: What to Eat and When to Eat It for a Good Night’s Sleep―Every Night includes recipes, a food and sleep log, and the best foods to eat for sleep. There are many myths surrounding sleep, and Karmen helped dispel three common ones surrounding sleep and explains what you should do instead.
Myth #1: It’s okay to sleep 5-6 hours a night
Depending on your age, it’s recommended that you get 7 to 10 hours of sleep at night but most adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours. Anything less than 7 hours in a 24-hour period is considered short sleep duration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, about one-third of Americans are getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep a night. Without adequate sleep, you may experience fatigue during the day, and your physical and mental health can start to suffer from a lack of sleep over time.
Myth #2: Drinking alcohol can help you fall asleep
It’s true that alcohol is a depressant and can help the body relax, but it also can hinder your ability to reach the deeper stages of sleep where the body and brain do self-restoration: something you shouldn’t skip out on! Everyone’s a little different when it comes to how much alcohol it takes to interfere with restful sleep. While some may experience sleep troubles after one glass of wine in the evening, it may take up to 3 drinks in a day before others notice sleep interference.
Myth #3: If you eat too many carbohydrates, you’ll get sleepy
When talking about carbs, it’s first important to distinguish the two types of carbohydrates: simple or complex. In a nutshell, simple carbs come from fruit, dairy and natural sugar (like honey or molasses), while complex carbs include whole and enriched grains and starchy vegetables like regular and sweet potatoes. They both have a place in the daily diet but you want to make sure to take in at least 3 servings of complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, each day for the fiber and variety of vitamins and minerals they contain that can help promote healthy sleep cycles. Foods like whole grain bread and pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates and will prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping off quickly, which can leave people feeling tired. Complex carbohydrates will give you sustained energy during the day and the improved sleep at night.
Karman was kind enough to share a recipe with plenty of complex carbs to help with improved sleep at night.
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
4 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup Fat-Free Coconut Mango dressing (like from Sprouts)
Red bell pepper, sliced thin
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat once cooked.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil and sriracha in a small bowl. Add the broccoli florets to a large bowl and pour the sriracha olive oil over top and stir well to coat. Spread the broccoli onto the baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes on the middle oven rack. Stir broccoli around on baking sheet and add the chickpeas and walnuts. Place back in the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside in a large bowl.
- To assemble quinoa bowls: Divide the quinoa and the broccoli, chickpeas, & walnuts between two bowls. Top each bowl with 2 tablespoons of the Coconut Mango dressing, sliced red bell pepper, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Eat to Sleep: What to Eat and When to Eat It for a Good Night’s Sleep―Every Night by Karman Meyer will be released May 14, 2019. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon today! Also, check my Instagram for a giveaway later this week for Karman’s new book where one lucky winner will be sent a copy.