Healthy eating improves sleep, energy, and happiness. Sharing recipes and tips with coworkers can encourage socialization, and help create a community of support whether you are working virtually, in the office, or in a hybrid model. The blog post linked below features recommended foods to help improve our sleep, brain functions (e.g., memory, decision-making), and mood.
The National Sleep Foundation highlights which foods to avoid and which to increase in your diet. You’ll find that there are certain types of food that, when consumed too close to bedtime, can disrupt your sleep , including: fatty or high-protein food, spicy foods, and the well-known culprits caffeine and alcohol.
Going to bed feeling overly full may make it harder to fall asleep, as will spicy foods that may cause heartburn or reduce the body’s ability to cool down in preparation for sleep. Alcohol may help us initially fall asleep, but after a few hours, as the body metabolizes it, it wakes us up in the middle of the night. When this happens, we often use caffeine in the morning to offset our exhaustion from poor sleep, which reinforces the need for help falling asleep, leading us into a vicious cycle. For better bedtime snacks that are more easily digested, look to oatmeal or whole-wheat toast.
If you’re interested in assessing your entire diet, this article from Psychology Compass’ team of psychology and neuroscience PhDs recommends looking for high-fiber foods, low-fat proteins, and foods high in B vitamins which help regulate melatonin. A healthier diet for sleep would include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, eggs, and dairy. Don’t forget to look at how much water you’re taking in each day. Dehydration can cause fatigue, sleep disturbances, brain fog, and irritability.
Blueberries have been shown to boost concentration and memory for up to 5 hours after consumption, and are also a delicious addition to a smoothie. Avocados not only help with memory and learning, but also help trigger dopamine production which leads to increased feelings of happiness, motivation, and focus. Leafy greens should be included in this healthy diet, as studies show that people who ate two daily servings of vegetables exhibited the mental focus of people 5 years their junior.
Looking at what foods you should consume, rather than not consume is more helpful. There are so many blogs and websites out there that share delicious recipes, one of our favorites is called Pinch of Yum. You can search by ingredients, prep and cooking time, meal type, and by season. Our suggestion is to start with healthy dinners and lunches first, before checking out the desserts – they look delicious!