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May 18, 2020

Eat Right, Sleep Tight: Snack Ideas to Fight Fatigue and Rest Better at Night

Sleep and nutrition are closely linked. When short on sleep, our tired brains and bodies seek out energy to work, learn, and play. But choose wisely! Quick and convenient snacks often pack more sugar than we realize, and caffeine from sodas or coffee can affect sleep even hours later.  

Learn more about the connection between sleep and nutrition below. Then check out our Healthy Sleep Toolkit for family activities to help everyone reduce stress, boost immunity, and improve well-being by building a healthy sleep routine. 

Lack of healthy sleep affects several hormones in the body related to hunger and food cravings. 

Specifically, lack of sleep causes increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin, which can make us feel hungrier. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body that stimulates appetite and it is also elevated by lack of sleep. Cortisol is further elevated by eating sugary and starchy foods, which in turn disrupts our natural sleep cycles.  

When we eat and drink makes a difference!  

A few simple guidelines can help kids and adults stay active and focused all day, without interfering with nightly rest. 

  1. Fuel up with a filling breakfast, like pizza toast or top-your-own breakfast tacos.  
  2. Avoid caffeine, such as energy drinks, soda, tea or coffee, after lunchtime.  
  3. Avoid heavy meals 1-2 hours before bedtime.  
Stock the pantry with #SmarterSleep snacks 

While foods high in sugar or caffeine can provide a quick boost, the “crash” that follows can leave us feeling sluggish, irritable, and distracted. Fruit, vegetables, protein, whole grains, and plenty of water are the best options for all-day energy and a restful night’s sleep.  

 

For more tips and activities to help families improve sleep quality and quantity, visit our Sleep Smarter. Perform Better. resource center, created in partnership with Sleep Number. 

Nancy Katz

Senior Director, Content and Partnerships and National Advisor, Nutrition

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