The ITIS. At one time or another we’ve all experienced this sudden urge to sleep that comes on after a heavy meal. It might have been some “good” sleep, but that’s not the same as quality sleep, which your body needs. A 2013 study from the University of Surrey in England found that people who got less than six hours of sleep a night compared with those who got 8.5 hours showed altered inflammation, metabolism and immunity genes. These changes potentially increase the risk of a range of health conditions, from heart disease and diabetes to obesity.
“Sleep plays a critical role in not only looking and feeling your absolute best, but in attaining and maintaining optimal health,” says BDO Fitness Expert, Sloan Luckie.
“By getting a good quantity of sleep, which is typically seven to eight hours, and by getting high quality sleep, which is uninterrupted sleep, sleep can really benefit you in myriad ways.”
In addition to decreased risk of disease, quality sleep can:
- help you control your appetite and reduce overeating
- promotes calorie burning muscle mass
- provide your body the opportunity to repair itself
What is it about food that can induce sleep? Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid necessary for normal growth in infants and for balancing nitrogen in adults. It’s an essential amino acid, meaning your body cannot produce it naturally; you must get it from your diet.
The body uses tryptophan to help produce seratonin, which is key to producing quality sleep and a stable mood.
Tryptophan can be found in:
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
In this video, Sloan Luckie shares how to easily incorporate these foods into your daily diet.
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