Sleep Like A Teenager

Our 17-year-old daughter just woke up. It’s 1:30 in the afternoon, and I’m jealous. Remember the days when you could sleep until the crack of noon? I can!

When you’re a teenager, you have higher levels of melatonin, which helps you sleep deeper and have more restorative sleep. My quest: Is it possible to sleep like a teenager at my age?

Here’s what I found out: Yes, it is possible to sleep better, but you have to work harder at it than a teenager.

Here’s what you can try to catch some better Z’s:

  • Eat foods that contain B vitamins at night (ex: lentils, beans, bananas, potatoes and fish). B vitamins help to calm your nervous system making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Avoid red meat at night. Red meat contains an amino acid called tyrosine that helps to energize and keep you alert. This is great during the day, but not so wonderful when you’re trying to sleep. A small serving of red meat at lunch can help you feel more alert, but skip it at night if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Eat foods that contain tryptophan, which helps to increase your serotonin levels. When your serotonin levels are high, you have a calmer nervous system. The following foods contain tryptophan: red meat (a little goes a long way, so limit your serving size) dairy products, nuts, seeds, bananas, soybeans, tuna, shellfish, and turkey.
  • Try going vegetarian at dinner by eating more veggies combined with brown rice, whole grain pasta or quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Make sure you eat plenty of veggies with whole grains or pasta.

My favorite, “Sleep Like a Teenager”, dinner recipe…..

Deborah’s Ten minute Tabouli (gluten free)


•             1 cup of cooked (and cooled) brown rice

•             1 cup minced fresh parsley

•             1/3 cup minced fresh mint

•             ¾ cup of chopped green onions (I chop the white and part of the green)

•             2 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes (or regular tomatoes)

•             2 cups of cucumbers, seeded and diced

•             3 tablespoons olive oil

•             3 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

•             1 teaspoons of sea salt


In a large mixing bowl, add your brown rice and all the chopped herbs and veggies. Combine the oil, lemon juice, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to brown rice/veggie mixture and mix well. You can certainly add more lemon juice or additional veggies.

Chill. Serve and enjoy.

*This salad can be made very quickly. The secret? I make a big container of brown rice and store it in my refrigerator. This makes for easy cooking for the rest of the week.

Bonus: This is even better the next day! Add it to a green salad to boost the fiber and nutritional content. Or add some diced chicken for a perfect one dish meal.

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