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General, Solutions

Foods That Help or Harm Your Sleep

What You Eat Affects How You Sleep

If you could pick the right foods to help you get the best sleep possible, wouldn’t you? And if you knew which foods would hinder your restful slumber, wouldn’t you avoid them? Now’s your chance to learn which foods to eat, and which to steer clear of for a good night’s sleep.

Reach for Tryptophan-Rich Foods: Dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs.

Indulge Your Craving for Carbs: Carbohydrate-rich foods complement dairy foods by increasing the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan in the blood. So a few perfect late night snacks to get you snoozing might include a bowl of cereal and milk, yogurt and crackers, or bread and cheese.

Have a Snack Before Bedtime: If you struggle with insomnia, a little food in your stomach may help you sleep. Keep the snack small, a heavy meal will tax your digestive system, making you uncomfortable and unable to get soothing ZZZs.

Put Down the Burger and Fries! Research shows that people who often eat high-fat foods not only gain weight, they also experience a disruption of their sleep cycles. A heavy meal activates digestion, which can lead to nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Beware of Hidden Caffeine: Even moderate caffeine can cause sleep disturbances. But don’t forget about less obvious caffeine sources, like chocolate, cola, tea, and decaffeinated coffee. For better sleep, cut all caffeine from your diet four to six hours before bedtime.

Medications May Contain Caffeine: Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain caffeine, too, such as pain relievers, weight loss pills, diuretics, and cold medicines. Check the label of nonprescription drugs or the prescription drug information sheet to see if your medicine interferes with sleep or can cause insomnia.

Skip the Nightcap: Here’s the catch-22 with alcohol: It may help you fall asleep faster, but you may experience frequent awakenings, less restful sleep, headaches, night sweats and nightmares. If you’re consuming alcohol in the evening, balance each drink with a glass a water to dilute the alcohol’s effects. For a good night’s sleep, the better bet is to avoid alcohol four to six hours before bedtime.

Beware of Heavy, Spicy Foods: Lying down with a full belly can make you uncomfortable, since the digestive system slows down when you sleep. It can also lead to heartburn, as can spicy cuisine.

Keep Protein to a Minimum at Bedtime: Protein, an essential part of our daytime fare, is a poor choice for a bedtime snack. Protein-rich foods are harder to digest.

Cut the Fluids by 8 P.M: You’re sure to have interrupted sleep if you’re constantly getting up to go to the bathroom.

– Don’t Be Fooled by a Relaxing: Smoke Nicotine is a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine. Avoid smoking before bedtime or if you wake up in the middle of the night.

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