Getting a good night’s rest can be difficult for many seniors. In fact, insomnia is reaching the point where sleep experts say it presents a serious health crisis in our country. The lack of quality sleep has a variety of causes, including sleep apnea, stress, irregular heartbeat, and lifestyle.
We know our diets are important to our overall health, and sleep is no exception. Shortened or low-quality sleep can wreak havoc on your goal of healthy eating. That’s because it increases the body’s appetite for comfort foods, which are high in fat and carbohydrates.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the key to a good night’s sleep might lie in eating nutrient-rich foods—ironically, something insomnia makes you less likely to do.
Can a Nutrient-Rich Diet Help Seniors Sleep Better?
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research reveals our bodies need amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help us fall and stay asleep. When our diet lacks variety or contains a lot of processed foods, we miss out on some of those beneficial nutrients.
But when we eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and quality meat, we give our body the best chance of falling asleep naturally. The study, which was conducted at The Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, uncovered interesting information on the potential link between sleep duration and nutrition.
Here are a few of their findings:
- Lauric acid: A diet rich in lauric acid helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Research shows people who have a healthy cardiovascular system enjoy a better night’s sleep. Foods containing lauric acid include milk, cheddar cheese, and coconut oil.
- Lycopene: Researchers found that people who consume too little lycopene have shorter sleep durations. Dried basil and parsley are two herbs that contain lycopene and can be easily incorporated into your cooking. Other good sources of lycopene are tomatoes, cabbage, watermelon, and asparagus.
- Selenium: Difficulty falling asleep is associated with reduced selenium intake. Selenium is found in meats, seafood, dairy products, grains, and nuts.
- Vitamin C: Many adults say vitamin C helps them sleep better, and foods high in vitamin C are easily added to your diet. Examples include berries, oranges, bell pepper, papaya, kale, parsley, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Balanced Diet at Sunrise Senior Living
The Signature Dining Program at Sunrise communities takes the guesswork out of what to eat to maintain a healthy diet. Each of our meals is well-balanced and designed to meet the MyPlate recommendations for older adults.
Sound tempting? Then join us for lunch or dinner at your convenience. It’s one of the best ways to see what life at Sunrise is really like!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living