You probably already know that a good night’s sleep is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. According to studies, sleep is important for managing your weight, stress, and overall level of contentment. However, what if you’re trying to get your 8 hours nightly, but don’t seem to be falling asleep easily, are waking up in the middle of the night, or can’t seem to get into a consistent sleep rhythm? What you eat (or don’t eat) can make a difference in the quality of your sleep. These are some foods you can eat, or skip, for a better night of Zzzzs.
DO eat these foods closer to bed time to help promote better sleep…
Milk, Yogurt, or Cheese: Foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, like dairy products, can help you feel more calm and sleepy. In fact, a study of people with chronic insomnia found that those who ate tryptophan-rich foods along with carbohydrates had improved measurements of sleep. Other foods rich in tryptophan include eggs, peanuts, walnuts, and poultry. Another factor that makes dairy products so great at helping with sleep is their high calcium content. Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to produce more sleep inducing melatonin.
Bananas: Pairing foods rich in carbohydrates with those high in tryptophan helps your body use more of the tryptophan. In addition to offering carbohydrates, bananas are also a good source of magnesium and potassium, two minerals which may help promote sleep on their own. Other carbohydrate-rich foods that are good to eat before bed are whole grains or whole grain cereal.
Cherries: This yummy fruit is one of the few food sources of melatonin, a compound that can help keep your body’s internal clock more regulated, and help you get a sounder sleep.
DO NOT eat….
A Large Burger and Fries: Any high fat meal takes a lot longer to digest and causes your body to product more stomach acid to help digest the fat. Hitting the hay less than 3 hours after a meal like this can cause heartburn or reflux that can keep you awake. Plus, high fat / high calorie meals are more likely to add to your weight over time, and that added weight can potentially disrupt your sleep.
Caffeine: This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s important to know that caffeine’s effects can last for up to 8 hours, depending on your sensitivity–– so curb your caffeine by around 1 or 2pm if you plan to hit the hay around 9 or 10pm.
Booze: It may seem like it puts you to sleep, but alcohol can cause your sleep to be fragmented and disrupted and can prevent you from getting enough deep sleep. So, even though you fall asleep quickly, and may feel like you were deeply sleeping, drinking before bed deprives your body of the quality of deep sleep it needs.
Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know what helps you get your Zzzs!