Shawn Stevenson, host of popular wellness podcast Model Health Show, maintains that he "could not have found my road back to health without first paving a way to better sleep." In his new book, Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success, Stevenson combines his years of research to reveal the most effective ways we can all optimize our shut-eye. In this excerpt, he explains how eating right can improve your sleep. You can also learn more about better sleep (and maximizing your energy!) in his new mindbodygreen video class.
When it comes to getting the nutrients you need to keep your body and sleep healthy, remember this: food first.
Of course, there are occasions to strategically add in some smart supplementation to help fill in the nutritional gaps and get things back in line from a lifetime of deficiency. But the reason food is so paramount to getting these nutrients is that your body has evolved to “recognize” the nutrients that it can extract from whole foods.
There’s no guarantee that your body is going to readily assimilate the vitamin C from a supplement just because the pill bottle says it’s in there. Your cells and healthy gut bacteria are more likely to play nicely with real food than any fancy supplement.
So what should you be eating to ensure a great night's rest? Here are some of the most important good-sleep nutrients and the best foods to find them in: