Foods That Help You Sleep Better

Foods That Help You Sleep Better

Foods That Help You Sleep Better

Let’s face it — we live in a non-stop society. In our rush, we too often put sleep on the back burner. People forgo sleep to get things done. But it’s the wrong approach. Sleep has a huge effect on how you feel throughout the day, and nutrition plays a role in how well you sleep. 

Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. Food relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that — along with Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid — helps promote healthy sleep. Try to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.

Here are a few foods to get you started on the path to slumber.

1. Complex carbohydrates:

Embrace whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers and brown rice. Avoid simple carbohydrates, including breads, pasta and sweets such as cookies, cakes, pastries and other sugary foods. These tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote sleep. Eating lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.

2. Lean proteins:

Lean proteins include low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey and fish. These foods are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which tends to increase serotonin levels. On the flipside, avoid high-fat cheeses, chicken wings or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and can keep you awake.

3. Heart-healthy fats:

Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart healthbut also improve your serotonin levels. Examples include peanut butter (read the label to make sure peanuts are the only ingredient) and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. Avoid foods with saturated and trans fats, such as french fries, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods. These bring your serotonin levels down.

4. Beverages:

Certain drinks can promote or prevent sleep. A good, soothing beverage to drink before bedtime would be warm milk or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint.

5. Fresh herbs:

Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body. For example, sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep. Try making your own homemade pasta sauce with sage and basil. It’s easy to do, and homemade sauces tend to be lower in sugar than store-bought versions. However, avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at night, as they have a stimulatory effect.

6. Limit caffeine and nicotine: 

You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! As for caffeinated drinks, it is recommended for those who are having difficulty sleeping, consume that last cup by 2 p.m. Caffeine can affect people differently, and even the smallest amount of stimulant can keep you awake. Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.

7. Avoid alcohol before bed: 

While a nightcap may help you relax, it interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out.

8. Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening: 

Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.

9. Avoid big meals at night:

Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.

Sleep-inducing snacks
* Try a banana with low-fat yogurt
* Eat low-fat cottage cheese with a few 100-percent whole grain pita chips
* Smear peanut butter on 100-percent whole grain crackers
* Enjoy an apple with mozzarella string cheese.
Try all these foods to reduce your tossing and turning when you hit the pillow. Sweet dreams!

Foods That Help You Sleep Better

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