Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherry Growers. Thank you for supporting the work we’re doing at Food Heaven!
The holiday season is coming up, and the only thing I’m thinking about is SLEEP! Not sure if it’s the weather or being off from work, but during this time of the year, I usually go into hibernation mode and sleep extra long hours.
We’ve talked about the importance of sleep before, and how essential it is to our wellbeing. Researchers say that one-third of American workers were not getting enough sleep in 2018, and now, with the pandemic, politics, and uncertainty around the holiday season, those numbers are projected to increase.
Here are 3 things I’ve been doing lately to get quality zz’s in every night.
- Be mindful of the foods you eat and how it may affect your sleep cycle. For some people, consuming coffee or other caffeinated foods can disrupt sleep later in the day. And then there’s light from our phones and screens! Foods like sweet cherries are a natural source of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin, which help to regulate sleep cycles.
- Reading a really boring book or podcast before bed – hahaha It really does help! There’s actually a podcast called Sleep With Me that has been super helpful. The host distracts listeners by sharing bedtime stories in a very monotone voice. I’m usually knocked out within 15 minutes.
- Restorative yoga or stretching in bed. For those of you who don’t have the energy at the end of the day to pull out a yoga mat, doing relaxing movement in bed is an option that can help you wind down, relax, and clear your mind.
Let’s go back to what we eat. Aside from sleep, consuming cherries also has health benefits related to blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stress! Some of my favorite sweet cherry facts include:
Sweet cherries help your heart! High blood pressure is a risk factor in heart disease, and studies suggest phenolic acids, found in cherries, have vasorelaxant and antihypertensive effects.
Sweet cherries contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that have a hand in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Reduce your stress, one cherry at a time! Cherry phenolics appear to protect neuronal cells from cell-damaging oxidative stress and various studies have shown serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that reduces stress and improves mood. Who doesn’t need a little help reducing stress these days!
While fresh cherries are available only during the summer months, frozen or preserved sweet cherries are available year-round and are an excellent alternative that allow you to enjoy the health benefits anytime!
We actually did a post last year highlighting more health benefits of cherries so make sure to check that out!
What’s been helping you sleep better lately? Let us know below!