Meet Carl the Cardinal. Carl has been a constant companion at my window since October of 2013. Kelly knows Carl. He scared the bejeebers out of her while she was sitting calmly on my couch one October visit. Linda knows Carl and Carla, his mate, because she's taken some beautiful photos of him up close as he sits momentarily dazed on my windowsill. I have a love/hate relationship with the hard-headed, red beaked bozo bird because as much as his constant banging into my windows disturbs my early morning slumber (like clockwork: 7 – 7:15 a.m. every day), I realize that he's actally helping me regulate my sleeping habits and thus keeping those all important hormone imbalances at a fairly even keel.
Since I'm a motivational speaker on food and fitness, I'm choosing just the food issue to focus on this time to help us get a good night's sleep.
Beverages – Caffeine and Alcohol are hostile sleep distruptors. Beware of the stimulating effect of caffeinated foods and beverages. It's best to halt its intake from 2 p.m. on. Remember that "decaffeinated" still has some small amounts of caffeine in it. While initially it has a sedative effect, alcohol causes release of adrenaline and disrupts the production of seratonin, an important brain chemical that initiates sleep. I know this all too well.
Timing of Dinner – Nobody loves to go to bed hungry and it's not very restful to go to bed with a really full belly either. The sweet spot seems to be around 3 hours between your meal and bedtime. Take note next time.
Eat on a regular schedule – This will keep your appetite hormones in check. If you delay a meal too long, you will throw your hormones out of whack which can later impact your sleep.
Try a bedtime snack – This is only if you experience low nightime blood sugar levels. This causes insommnia because low blood glucose releases hormones that tell our brain that we need to eat. Try small amounts of foods with the hormone tryptophane in it: turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs and nuts (especially almonds).
Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a Carl but at least these handful of tips will help regulate our hormones so we can have a blissful night's Zzzzzzzz!