Mar 20, 2022

We continue to MARCH our way through National Nutrition Month...and today we're talking about a nutrient called SLEEP. Who knew sleep was a nutrient? In my book, it is...and a pretty major one.

Sleep deprivation is….well….an epidemic. I mean, can you honestly say that eight blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep is your norm? Do you sleep soundly through the night with ZERO wake-ups? Do you consistently wake feeling rested, restored, and abundantly energetic….ready to face a new day?? Umm….anyone, anyone….Bueller, Bueller?? (Please tell me you got that movie reference).

Crappy sleep seems to be the norm, with more than one-third of the population reporting LESS than 6 hours per night, and not feeling rested upon waking in the morning. Ouch.

Now, chew on this truth: Weight gain increases and fat loss decreases in participants who were sleep-deprived. The National Institute of Health funded several studies that concluded: “People should not ignore the way they sleep when going on a diet. Adequate sleep enhances the effects of a diet, while not enough sleep can defeat the desired effects.” 

Additionally……A professor of medicine at the University of Chicago said, “If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels.” How's that for an honest analogy? 

Diets and fat loss aside, poor sleep is linked to every chronic disease known to man, and poor sleep leads to an earlier death. Okay, Grim Reaper…not so fast….help is on the way for the sleep-deprived. 

Today I’m giving you 4 steps to better slumber…..ready? Here we go:

1. Begin to construct your meals using more sleep enhancing foods. Examples are: walnuts, dark leafy greens, quinoa, oatmeal, turkey, tart cherries, tofu, chicken, eggs, bananas, almonds, salmon, and coconut oil. While it’s sometimes warranted to pop a melatonin or magnesium supplement as a sleep aid, focusing on daily consumption of these foods can eventually make sleep seem effortless. Try this dinner recipe for a good night’s sleep:

BTBE (Best Turkey Burgers Ever)


1 lb. ground turkey
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil Hamburger buns—or just use lettuce leaves
Sliced tomatoes


In a large bowl, mix together turkey, egg, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley, then season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into four flat patties. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add patties and cook until golden and cooked through, 5 minutes per side. Serve on a bun with desired toppings. 

2. Honor your body’s circadian rhythms by eating within a specified window. Consume your first meal of the day within an hour or more after waking. The last meal of the day should be finished three to four hours from bedtime. Eating too late keeps the digestive system working when it should be resting. This causes body temperature to rise, and blood sugar to drop which leads to disturbed sleep. 

3. Learn a better way to stack your meals for better sleep. Many of us either skip breakfast or grab a quick breakfast “snack” as we’re flying out the door. A large, protein-filled breakfast, a filling & nutrient-dense lunch, followed later by a light dinner is a promising recipe for successful sleep. 

4. Eat treats during the day, not at night. Not that I’m encouraging day-drinking, but enjoying that glass of wine or that bowl of ice cream during the day will be much less detrimental to your sleep. Consuming sugar wreaks havoc on your blood sugar, which impairs sleep....and every glass of wine or shot of liquor takes two hours to metabolize, which will also ravage your sleep efforts.  

Developing the skills and habits to improve your sleep takes time, so be patient with yourself. I’m wishing you sweet dreams tonight, my friend! 

Here’s to your good health, and to a future filled with fabulous sleep, 

-Lori Zzzzz