If there is one thing most people have experienced, it's stress. We're either managing it with a commitment to self-care or being run by it and trying to hold on, and it's all very normal.
In fact, the American Psychological Association conducted a survey called "Stress In America" in January that shows Americans, in general, have more stress now than ever before. Their studies show that most people are concerned about police violence, personal safety and the overall state of the country.
Those umbrella topics don't even cover our individual lives that come with their own uniquely stressful situations.
If you're like me, then you find comfort in little things, one of them being food, which is fine as long as its done in moderation.
According to Sleep.org, getting enough sleep is also a huge part of keeping stress down.
The site reads,
"The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones."
So you know what that means? We need to make sure we eat and sleep well.
So, in honor of our love for a great meal and even better sleep, here are five meals that will contribute to sweet rest, less stress, or both.
1. Sweet potato toast
According to the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, Jaclyn London, R.D., sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium (which regulates your heartbeat according to Web MD) and will help you to relax.
As you can see from the yummy-looking photo, an easy way to munch on sweet potatoes before bed is by toasting slices of it so that you aren't over-stuffed. The slices are convenient since you can top them with whatever items you have in your fridge that you think compliment the sweet potato.
2. A bowl of blueberries
Keep a low food prep time and just snack on a bowl of fresh blueberries. They are great for reducing stress and have a chemical, valproic acid, that stabilizes your mood.
Blueberries also shouldn't make you feel too stuffed when you lie down for bed.
Yogurt manages stress, but also contributes to healthier skin and stronger bones, according to a Huffpost report. The fun thing about yogurt is not just that it comes in a million different flavors, like the Yoplait root beer flavor waiting in my fridge to be devoured right now.
You can also get creative with how you consume this healthy dessert, by abandoning the traditional cup and trying a fun yogurt bowl stocked with fruit.
Just be careful with the sugar because it will wire you and then cause a crash, which does not bode well for a good night's sleep.
According to Healthy Eating, salmon is one of the best super foods to munch on since it has omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce stress hormones.
So if you want to eat dinner before bed and need something hearty, a single piece of salmon and something green on the side is a nice, light meal that will make you feel good before you head to sleep.