If you have trouble sleeping six to eight hours a night, some advice from nutritionist Jane Schwartz might be just what you need. She recently posted an article on how eating a balanced diet can aid good sleep. The main thing about a balanced diet is that it can help the body avoid the vicious cycle of sugar peaks and crashes, and in that way reduce any cravings for sugar or caffeine. Schwartz organizes her tips in six major groups: include lean protein, some carbs and fat in all meals and snacks; eat either a meal or a snack in three to four hour intervals; don’t eat heavy meals at night; if you’re caffeine sensitive, avoid caffeinated beverages and foods such as chocolate in the afternoon and evening; avoid alcohol in the evening; and avoid fluids within two hours of bedtime. Read the entire article for all the detailed tips on keeping the above guidelines. Everyone is different of course, so you will have to decide which of these tips can help you and which ones are needless. For example, many coffee drinkers have trained their bodies to get along with the amount of caffeine they normally take in. So they can drink coffee shortly before going to bed without being bothered by it. Likewise some people can drink a little wine or other alcohol before going to bed and in fact swear it helps them sleep and does not cause them to wake up later, tossing and turning the rest of the night. The take-away that can help most of us is the balance rule: diets need that balance between lean protein, fats and carbs. Notice her lean protein recommendations are chicken, fish and dairy products. Healthy fats include those from fish and plant sources, plus seeds and nuts. Complex carbohydrate foods include fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans. Following these suggestions should eliminate food cravings. Once cravings are eliminated it becomes easier to control when and how often caffeine-containing foods such as coffee are enjoyed. Get balanced, get sleep, get healthy and enjoy your coffee when it works best for you.
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