Foods that are Good for your Sleep–Or Not

Have you ever gone to bed ready to sink into a deep, restful sleep–only to find that your stoamch is bubbling because of that heavy dinner you ate, keeping you up? Or that your brain is still buzzing from that sugar or caffeine you had with dessert? Or that you can’t stop thinking about a midnight snack? Eating inappropriate foods before bed is a common cause of insomnia. Read on to learn about what foods make for a sound sleep.

Foods that are Good and Bad for your Sleep

Here is our list of the foods that can help you drift off at night, and those that you should avoid before bedtime.  

What to Eat Before Bed:  Foods to Help You Snooze

Old classics The traditional standby of milk or turkey may actually has some merit.  These are high in tryptophan, a chemical that increases your brain’s production of melatonin and and serotonin.  Other tryptophan-rich foods include oats, peanuts, tuna, yogurt, eggs, and carbohydrates. 

Honey Eating honey right before bed may seem counterintuitive, however, the glucose in honey helps to block orexin, a chemical that increases alertness. A tablespoon is plenty to help you get a good night’s rest.

A simple snack The winner for the best bed-time snack may have to be almonds.  This no-fuss snack is high in both magnesium and tryptophan.  Both cause relaxation and a decrease in nerve function.  A handful of almonds before bed will have you heading to dreamland in no time.

What Not to Eat Before Bed: Foods to Avoid

Caffeine Step away from that iced latte!  Caffeine can affect your body for up to 12 hours after it is consumed. If you choose to enjoy an after-dinner espresso, its stimulant effects will still be in high gear at bed-time. Also, some pain relievers, cold medicines, and other foods contain caffeine, so be careful of what you’re consuming at night!

Cheese Steer clear of that cheese tray.  Cheeses (espeically hard ones) are high in tyramine, an amino acid that is converted to noradrenaline–a brain stimulant–in your body. 

Other high-tyramine foods This includes soy sauce, miso, and teriyaki sauce. Other foods that are high in tyramine include:  milk chocolate, pork, tomatoes, potatoes, processed deli meats and wine. 

Spicy foods If you are having trouble sleeping, no atomic hot wings for you! Laying down and eating spicy foods can increase heartburn.  So, unless you plan on sleeping standing up, don’t eat spicy foods before bed.

Fat Put down the meatloaf and fried spuds! People who eat a high-fat diet not only tend to gain weight, but their sleep patterns are also disrupted.  Eating a large, high-fat meal before bed can cause digestive issues during the night.

Extra tip: Eat reasonably. It’s also important to monitor the quantity of food you consume during the day. You don’t want to eat too much, which can upset your stomach and your sleep. However, if you eat too little, you could wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Listen to your body to determine how much food is right for you. 

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Photo Credit: pallavi_damera

Comments

  1. JP Brooks Reply

    These are high in tryptophan, a chemical that increases your brain’s production of melatonin and and serotonin.

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