Foods That Help and Hinder Your Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential if you want to enjoy great health.

Sleep restores energy and gives us sound minds, not to mention making our whole body rest and relax from a stressful day.

If you find yourself having problems sleeping then you owe it to yourself to read as much as possible on this topic. See what foods can benefit your sleep and what foods hinder it.

Foods To Help You Sleep Well

1) Bananas

This fruit is considered among the very best for delivering a wonderful rest. Bananas contain potassium and magnesium which are both good for the heart. They also relax the muscles which promotes good sleep. Bananas also have vitamin B6 which is essential for the production of the sleep hormone Melatonin. They have carbohydrates and tryptophan as well which induce sleepiness.

2) Cherries/Tart Cherry Juice

Cherries – whether fresh, dried, frozen or juiced – also contain calcium and melatonin, the hormone that helps regulates our internal circadian rhythm. Tart cherry juice, though, gives only small improvements on sleep problems but at least it still helps with the issue. Two cups of tart cherry juice daily is recommended.

3) Complex Carbs/Cereals

Carbs are proven very good for sleep. So, try munching whole grain cereals made up of barley, buckwheat, quinoa and kashi. Cereals often go with milk which also gives a restful sleep.

4) Hummus

This a sandwich spread often used in crackers and salads. It contains L-tryptophan which encourages sleep and serotonin that helps relaxes the muscles. Hummus also has vitamin B6 that produces melatonin.

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5) Lettuce

Snacking on lettuce an hour before sleeping can make you have a good night’s sleep. This vegetable contains Lactucarium which has a sedating effect on the brain. Try matching lettuce with kale and spinach for these veggies have an elevated calcium content that will stimulate tryptophan to kick in.

6) Milk

You may well remember that as a little child your parents made you drink a glass of warm milk in the lead-up to bedtime. This is mainly because it is believed to prompt a sound sleep and kids need that rest to grow up healthy and strong. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid which releases serotonin that makes the brain signal sleepiness to the body.

7) Pretzels

Pretzels are low calorie snacks that helps bring about sleep due to its carbohydrate content. An ounce of this gives our body two percent of magnesium which is a mineral known to give quality sleep. It is also suggested that a lack of magnesium in our body can alter your sleep for the worse. It is not always bad to snack before bedtime then!

8) Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are not just healthy complex carbohydrates that help with sleep issues. They can also make you release gas if you’re suffering from flatulence at bedtime. Its large potassium content aids in that sense too in that it also relaxes our muscles. It is also advised to include the skin when consuming sweet potatoes because more of its nutrients are contained there.

9) Tuna

This delicious fish offers a high content of vitamin B6 which produces melatonin and tryptophan that gives out to serotonin. These are all essential for promoting good sleep. Be sure to consume tuna two hours before your planned sleep time to make certain it’s digested fully. This forces the healthy components to work best.

10) Turkey 

This bird might have protein like chicken but turkey also has tryptophan which counteracts the effects of protein for sleep purposes. This explains why Americans tend to fall asleep as soon as they get into bed after Thanksgiving meals!

11) Valerian tea

 

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Valerian tea is an herb derived from the flowers of Valerian roots. This herb is used by doctors along with melatonin and serotonin to help regulate and increase the amount of sleep (especially for those suffering from insomnia). Unlike other teas, Valerian doesn’t have caffeine in it. This medicine causes drowsiness and sedates the brain and CNS. It is also used for anxiety disorders, migraines and stomach upset. Valerian tea should be taken an hour before bedtime but with the advice of a doctor. It should not be taken for longer than two weeks to avoid dependency on the herb.

Foods That Cause Problems With Sleeping

1) Bacon and Cheese Burger

This high fat, salt-packed food is definitely one of the biggest no-no’s if you are yearning for a restful sleep. Fatty foods provoke the formulation of acid in the stomach and thus cause heartburn and acid reflux. In case you can’t avoid bingeing, be sure to wait an hour or two before snoozing as it can also cause nightmares when sleeping if you are still full from eating.

2) Chicken

Protein is energy and thus it is essential to have it during the day where our bodies need to be up and running the whole time. Chicken in particular is very high in protein and consuming an excess of this meat tends to slow down digestion beyond 60% at night. Protein in chicken can make us feel energized and ready for action at bedtime. This may cause sleep apnea too if consumed right before sleeping as the body is taking time to digest the food. This may, of course, eventually lead to irritability and utter exhaustion the following day.

3) Coffee

As has been said over and over again, coffee is sleep’s number one nemesis. Its caffeine content will definitely hamper your chances of good sleep. This is best taken only at breakfast because of its active stimulant effects on the CNS, one thing that everyone needs in order to stay awake the whole day to perform well. Or better yet, do not drink coffee at all.

4) Dark Chocolate

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Contrary to popular belief, dark chocolate is not that healthy at all. It causes more problems than regular chocolate when consumed before sleeping. This comfort food has a larger amount of caffeine than ordinary chocolate bars which may cause sleeplessness. Dark chocolate also has theobromine, a property toxic to dogs but very rare in humans (although if taken in huge amounts, it can lead to hyperventilation, palpitations, hypertension, stroke or even death).

5) Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are packed with even more caffeine than coffee. This boosts the waking factor of the body to keep you going even at those times you need to sleep. These drinks contain 80 to 242 milligrams of caffeine per drink. And, if you are into trying to have a good slumber, then it’s best to avoid taking these drinks at all.

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6) Indian Curry

Curry is packed with delicious, spicy seasoning that adds zest to an everyday meal. Curries are often OK but Indian curry is proven to impair good sleep and, even worse, may cause nightmares due to the spices present in it which also elevates blood pressure. Indigestion and accumulation of acids in the stomach are the common culprits. Since a hot Indian curry is harsh to the tummy, it’s best to eat this sort of meal in the day as people are usually busy and won’t be able to  notice mild discomfort caused by the curry.

7) Soft drinks/Sodas

It is already a known factor that sodas contain caffeine so, needless to say, you should avoid drinking much of it at night. People nowadays are already used to pairing soft drinks with meals. And, if you are a food chain lover, chances are you’re guilty of this pleasure. Mountain Dew, for instance, has 71 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Pepsi and Coca Cola, on the other hand, don’t only contain caffeine but citrus and sodium benzoate at the same time. This stimulates acid production which may in turn cause acid reflux.

9) Water

You will probably wonder what this healthy drink is doing in this category. Water isn’t really bad and does not contain any of the components that lead to sleep disruption but, drinking too much of it three hours before bedtime will cause you to pee all throughout the night. So, best take a sip or two after dinner and get most of your intake during the day.

10) Wine

Contrary to what some believe, drinking wine before sleeping is not a smart move. It brings on sleep faster but it causes disruptions in your sleep. The alcohol in wine causes snoring and frequent trips to the bathroom that can make sleeping back difficult. And, moreover, it can make you feel restless with headaches the next day.

It’s Nearly Time For Bed…

So…

We hope that this handy selection of what to embrace and avoid has given you food for thought.

Take action in any way you can and give yourself the sleep you so richly deserve.

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2 comments
Fabian Tjong says January 12, 2017

Cool post! Can definitally relate to what is written here, as a student I often used coffee and chocolate as to keep me up at night
I see you also wrote Tuna as a food that help you sleep well. But it just happend to be that tuna is also high in proteine. Will the proteine from tuna keep you awake? Or is it that that the vitamin b 6 are just so great?

keep up the great content!

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