Nutritionist Jenny Tschiesche has information on when it’s the worst time to eat, especially if you’re struggling to get to sleep at night. Here’s what she has to say.
“According to the latest scientific research, the best time of day to eat and what to eat is determined by your chronotype,” says Tschiesche.
What’s a chronotype?
There are two main chronotypes: the owl; and the lark. These identities determine a person’s natural behaviour when it comes to sleeping.
Are you an owl?
Do you enjoy staying up late at night and sleeping in the next morning? Chances are you’re an owl chronotype.
“Owls can help themselves feel alert earlier in the day by consuming a balanced breakfast 30-45 minutes after waking up,” suggested Tschiesche.
“They can also improve their quality of sleep at night by having their evening meal at least two hours before sleep, if not three,” she added.
It’s also important what types of foods owls consume, as they’re known to suffer from “social jet lag”.
“Social jet lag is a condition similar to the jet lag you feel when you travel across time zones,” explains Tschiesche.
She continued: “It’s generally because owls tend to live in a world that is set against their internal time zone.”
To combat this stress-inducing reality, owls are recommended to focus on a “lower carbohydrate” diet.
“This will aid both their sleep and alertness during the day,” testifies Tschiesche.
“Vitamin supplements can also help keep energy levels up during the day and one of my favourites is nutriburst’s Health and Vitality gummy vits.”
Are you a lark?
Do you tend to spring out of bed in the mornings? If you feel more alert and productive in the AM, you’re most likely a lark.
This chronotype is more in sync with society, such as office work times and shop openings.
However, it is possible to wake up too early, when your body isn’t ready to start the day with a good breakfast.
That’s why Tschiesche advises to delay your morning coffee or breakfast for “at least 30 minutes” after waking.
“This will ultimately help realign your body clock and improve your sleep,” asserts Tschiesche.
She adds: “Likewise, if you find yourself falling asleep too early in the evening then I would suggest moving your evening meal to a little later.
“This can help stave off sleep until you are ready.” In addition to knowing your chronotype, Tschiesche highlights the importance of the sleep-wake cycle.
Also known as the circadian rhythm, “a regular sleep/wake pattern helps you feel refreshed and ready for your day”.
“There are also certain nutrients that can help improve your quality of sleep,” adds Tschiesche.
She lists tryptophan and magnesium as sleep-inducing nutrients, but there are things to avoid before bedtime too.
These include caffeine, which can still be in the body’s system 12 hours after consumption (making it harder to sleep).
Other dietary considerations to make include avoiding spicy and acidic foods near bedtime.
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