Better Sleep and WLS Health 2

Power Down for Better Sleep and WLS Health!

July 6, 2018

Catch Your ZZZ's

  • Do you know how important it is to “power down at night”?
  • Are you having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep?
  • Do you get less than 7 hours of sleep a night?

If you answered yes to any of these questions your “Sleep Routine” needs to be tweaked.

Research shows that less than 7 hours of sleep a night makes losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight nearly impossible. You want your body to focus on sleep and not digestion when it comes to your sleep time. We want our bodies to be relaxed and not stimulated at bedtime.

Avoid Foods That Keep the Body Stimulated

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Energy drinks
  • Nicotine
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Aged fermented, cured, smoked foods like cheese, salami, and red wine
  • Alcohol
  • Peppers and spicy foods may spark indigestion or reflux and keep you awake
  • High sodium foods may increase blood pressure and dehydrate you and aide in insomnia
  • Foods that are high in sugar, fat and refined carbohydrates also may inhibit sleep


Melatonin is your body’s natural sleep hormone. It literally will put you to sleep!

Melatonin is naturally found in:  Fruits and vegetables (asparagus, tomato, pomegranate, olives, grapes, broccoli and cucumber), grains (rice, barley and rolled oats), and nuts/seeds (flax and sunflower seeds, walnuts and peanuts).

Get Better Sleep and WLS Health

Vitamins and Minerals

There are 4 vitamins and minerals contained in food that help with melatonin production, and will help you sleep better!

Better Sleep and Health Tryptophan
Found in dairy (low-fat milk and yogurt), poultry (turkey and chicken), seafood (shrimp, salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, and cod), nuts/seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, cashews, peanut, almonds, and walnuts).
Better Sleep and Health Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 helps change tryptophan into melatonin. Sunflower and flax seeds, spinach, avocado, pistachio nuts, chicken, tuna, lean pork, and beef are rich in this vitamin.
Better Sleep and Health Magnesium
Turns off adrenaline so you can relax, sleep and maintain sleep. Try dark leafy green vegetables (kale, baby spinach), nuts/seeds (cashews, almonds, sunflower, and flaxseeds), wheat germ, banana, avocado, low-fat yogurt.
Better Sleep and Health Calcium
Helps the brain make melatonin. Calcium is found in broccoli, okra, soybeans, low-fat yogurt, milk and cheese, and enriched grains.

Sleep and Body Mass Index (BMI)

Lower BMI’s = better sleep. The more exhausted we are, the poorer our food choices are. The more sleep deprived we are, the more irregular our hormone balance is which prevents healthy weight maintenance. Regular sleep and wake times = healthier weights.

10 Tips for Better Sleep

  • Sleep routine:  There are other ways to help with getting better sleep each night. One way is to have a “sleep routine, ” yes, just like a baby!
  • Chill before bedtime:  Turn off electronics, TV’s, cell phones, and other devices one hour before going to sleep so you can relax and prevent stimulation.
  • Protein and sleep: Avoid eating protein for two hours before sleep. Protein prevents tryptophan from getting into the brain.
  • Zinc:  Consume foods that have zinc. Zinc deficiencies are linked to insomnia. Oysters, beef, Alaska King Crab, and fortified cereals are rich in zinc.
  • Natural food choices:  Try to always focus on natural foods or as close to natural as you can, for example, apples instead of apple pie.
  • Routine works best for sleep:  Try to have your bedtime and wake up time the same throughout the week and even weekends. This will help set your internal clock. Balancing sleep time is crucial for optimizing your daily health.
  • Naps:  Try not to “nap” especially in the afternoons. If you must nap, keep it only 10-15 minutes long.
  • Maximize your sleep area:  Evaluate your sleep area. Is the temperature right for you? Do you have a comfortable mattress to sleep on? Is there minimal noise and light in your room? Light affects the production of melatonin. Keep the room dark for sleep.
  • Nix any distractions:  Remove any distractions such as work from your sleep space. It is important to keep the bed for sleeping only. No snacking, TV watching or computer time in the bed. Omit them for a better sleep routine. Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary!
  • Avoid stimulations:  Always avoid alcohol, cigarette smoking, and eating heavy meals two hours prior to sleep. They will stimulate your system, may cause interrupted sleep, and prevent natural sleep patterns.

Benefits to a Better Sleep Plan

Now that you have the makings of a better sleep plan you will start to reap the benefits!

Better sleep will help boost your memory, improve learning new tasks, increase your attention and focus, decrease your stress and anxiety levels and improve depression.

A good night’s sleep can also enhance athletic performance. Haven’t you heard, “Get a good night sleep, you have a big day tomorrow”? It is smart parents that have trained you that sleeping well will help you have a more successful day!

Sleep plays a monumental role in good health throughout your lifetime. Sleep is the most underrated function that we perform daily. It is the only time our bodies can “regroup” from our hectic days and prepare you for a productive next day. We are working so diligently every day to be healthy and our nighttime may sacrifice that from happening.

How many hours of sleep do you get at night? Compare your sleep time to the recommendations below.

Teenage years (14-17) Young adults (18-25) Adults (26-64) Older adults (65+)
8-10 hours a night 7-9 hours a night 7-9 hours a night 7-8 hours a night

Remember… a lower BMI means better sleep. As you lose weight you will see sleep patterns improve. Keep working towards achieving or maintaining your goal weight for the healthiest you!

Pleasant Dreams~

Better Sleep and WLS Health


Sharon George, MS, RD, CDN received her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University. She completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at L.I.U.C.W. Post and received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Hofstra University. She has been published in OH Magazine and Bariatrics Today. Sharon has dedicated her career to Bariatric Nutrition for the past 15 years at the New York Bariatric Group.
Read more articles from Sharon!