|I wish I could sleep on a banana!|
Specifically, some research suggests that a second, powerful force entraining our circadian rhythms is the timing of meals. In other words, when meals occur can influence when sleep occurs. Of course, the opposite relationship also exists: the timing of sleep impacts the timing of meals. In the end, the connection between sleep and food is complicated!
For many people, the ritual of a bedtime snack is an important component of getting a good night sleep. And, that doesn't seem to be an accident. Our brains may be wired to seek food prior to sleep. My intuition is that food prior to sleep may improve the quality of sleep by "soothing" the brain with a little treat. Today, we're going to exploit the relationship between food and sleep for our own, selfish sleep goals.
Task: Eat a small snack 30min prior to bed.
Info: Select a small snack for this, not a meal. Larger meals can have a negative impact on sleep quality and may cause unwelcome weight gain, so be careful to avoid whole meat-loafs, large subs, or tubes of cookie-dough right before hitting the hay. Pick something small like a piece of toast, some herbal tea with honey, some warm milk, or some string cheese. In particular, it seems like carbohydrates are the best for solid sleep, so a little bit of sweet may be the way to go.
Goal: Settle on a snack you can go to ritualistically prior to bed.
For this Daily Mind Game, we're exploiting two things. First, actually eating food (as an energy source) seems to be sleep-inducing alone. Second, we're using the flavors, smell, and ritual of preparing the snack as a second set of cues that signal to our brain an association with sleep. The more consistent you can be with the snack you select, the more powerful a sleep cue it will become. Good luck!