The New (Ab)Normal
Portion sizes are rapidly increasing within the United States and it’s become difficult to find nutritious meals on the go. The average fast food restaurant serves primarily fatty, sugary, or salty foods.
While fast foods may taste good, they do almost nothing for your health in the long run. Fast foods lack micronutrients and are linked to weight gain and obesity. Being overweight or obese can cause type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndromes, and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Your sleep habits and eating habits overlap. By eating better, you sleep better. By sleeping better, you decrease your risk of obesity, prevent overeating, and are more likely to choose healthier options. Conversely, eating fatty, sugary, salty, or high-calorie meals before bed makes it harder to get enough sleep.
A study in 2016 found that people who ate more sugar, more saturated fats, and little fiber tended to wake up frequently at night and has less restorative sleep overall. Similarly, diets lacking in magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E affect your sleep duration.
When you eat balanced meals, you’re less likely to experience heartburn and acid reflux in the evenings. Cooking well-rounded meals at home can keep your weight down and help your sleep health.
Time your meals around your bedtime. Stop drinking caffeine at least six hours before bed, and have your last large meal at least three hours before sleeping. This way, your body has time to digest your meals and prevent issues such as insomnia—a condition that affects up to 30 percent of Americans.
Since your eating habits and sleeping habits correlate, it’s crucial to prioritize both.
Enhance your sleep by getting the best mattress for you, sleeping in a comfortable position, and not eating fatty, spicy, or sugary meals too close to bedtime.
Make home-cooked meals and eat healthy snacks as much as possible. If you’re on the go and end up at a fast food restaurant, choose salads or soups when possible, substitute fries for fruits or veggies, and avoid any deep-fried options.