Nine eating tips to ensure a better sleep, tonight!

The Do Diet: Get the best sleep possible with these dining tips to restore energy and aid weight loss, plus a helpful recipe
By Karen Robock; Consulting nutritionist Meghan Telpner
sleep, rest, health, diet Getty Images

Go ahead, hit the snooze button. Sleep can improve your memory and restore energy, and a lack of it can sabotage your weight-loss goals. Here's how to dine so you can rest up and slim down.

1. Go for thai Order your green curry with a side of steamed jasmine rice. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate jasmine rice fell asleep almost 50 percent faster than those who ate long-grain white rice.

2. Give in to your chocolate craving A square of dark chocolate will satisfy your sweet tooth and works in your favour come bedtime because it contains sleep-inducing magnesium.

3. Eat smart after dark Late-night noshing is a no-no. Your stomach will have trouble digesting a full meal, plus your body doesn’t need many calories if you’re just heading off to dreamland. Aim to eat about four hours before you hit the sack. On nights when you can’t make it to the table in time, choose simple foods in small portions. A bowl of chicken soup will satisfy your hunger without disrupting your sleep schedule.

4. Add fresh herbs Stir a few sprigs of fresh chopped parsley into your spaghetti sauce or soup, or stuff a skinless, boneless chicken breast with sage. Both herbs are believed to reduce insomnia.


5. Keep snooze-friendly snacks on hand While you catch up on Glee, nibble on a handful of trail mix with sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds and dried cherries, which all contain the sleep hormone melatonin.

6. Make the connections between weight and 40 winks When we’re sleep-deprived, leptin (the hormone that cues feelings of fullness) crashes and ghrelin (which stimulates hunger) spikes in the body, encouraging overeating. But that’s not all. Part of the relationship between sleep and weight loss is psychological—when people are tired, they’re more likely to give in to their cravings. Two new studies prove the point. In one, participants getting four hours of sleep a night ate an average of 560 more calories than those who got eight hours. In another, people who slept for only five and a half hours a night lost 55 percent fewer pounds than their well-rested counterparts.

7. Drink right to doze A few sips of these three insomnia-fighting beverages can help send you to dreamland

Camomile or Passion-flower Tea: Both contain natural calming agents to slow your mind and get you ready for a good night’s rest. Buy an herbal blend of loose-leaf tea.

Warm Milk: It doesn’t just lull children to sleep, milk is also a good sleep aid for adults. Just heat it up on the stovetop, or use the steamer on your espresso machine.


Sleepy Smoothie: Blend a scoop of whey protein (it’s a source of tryptophan, a natural relaxant that can help raise serotonin levels in the brain), half a banana (which contains small amounts of melatonin and magnesium), a handful of berries and a cup of soy, almond or regular milk.

8. Consume before noon Keep these energy boosters well away from bedtime

Sports Drinks: Quenching your thirst after spin class may be keeping you up at night. Many energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar. Instead, fill your sport bottle with water and add a slice of lemon or lime for a refreshing flavour.

Black and green tea: Coffee might seem like the obvious beverage to omit if you’re trying to avoid caffeine, but black and green teas also contain the stimulant. If you can’t give up your evening mug of Earl Grey, switch to a decaffeinated version .

9. Love dairy and carbs (yes, really!) Try this simple dinnertime meal to keep your diet—and your sleep schedule—on track. Whole grains can help you feel fuller longer, and they contain magnesium. Dairy contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is said to induce drowsiness. Milk products are also a good source of vitamin B12, a serotonin booster that is key to the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.


Roasted Veggies & Pasta with Goat Cheese

Ingredients 3 garlic cloves, peeled 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1 yellow pepper, chopped 1 small red onion, chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt 1/2 450-g pkg whole-wheat or spelt linguine or spaghetti 1/2 130-g log herbed goat cheese 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 500F with rack in bottom position. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. 2. Combine garlic, tomatoes, pepper, onion, oil and salt in a large bowl. Season with fresh pepper and stir to coat. Spread veggies out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast veggies on bottom oven rack until lightly browned, about 15 min, stirring halfway through. 3. Add pasta to boiling water at veggie half-way point. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 min. 4. Remove roasted garlic to a large bowl. Mash against side of bowl. Add veggies and their juices. Drain pasta and add to bowl. Crumble in cheese. Sprinkle with basil and stir until combined. Makes 2 Servings

Nutrition per serving: 444 calories, 17 g protein, 68 g carbs, 11 g fat, 7 g fibre, 870 mg sodium. Excellent source of vitamins A and C. Good source of iron.


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