You’re lying in bed, wide awake, thinking about your day, closing your eyes only to open them soon after and thinking some more. Tossing and turning in bed, you hope to catch some sleep but it takes hours before you finally drift to dreamland. If this feels like your story, you are not alone.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, millions of Americans have trouble falling asleep and sleep deprivation is fast becoming an important public health concern. But before you blame stress and the pressure of today’s fast paced lifestyle, take a look at your diet.
According to experts at the National Sleep Foundation, there are some foods that are sleep promoters because they can help you sleep like a baby. Some are, however, sleep stealers as they can rob you of precious sleep and leave you staring at the ceiling above your bed for the most part of the night.
Here’s our guide to the best and worst foods to have before bed.
The Best Foods
Milk and other dairy products are sleep promoters because they contain tryptophan. Tryptophan boosts the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. For best results, add a spoon of honey or almond oil and you will be snoozing in no time.
2. Herbal Tea
Quitting caffeine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice cup of tea in the evening. Skip the usual tea and try a warm cup of herbal tea like lavender, valerian root or chamomile. Herbal teas have excellent sleep inducing properties and it’s just what you need before bed for quality shut-eye.
Poultry foods like turkey and chicken are great options for dinner as they contain scores of tryptophan. But remember it’s also important how you cook your meal. Making it spicy or fatty will ruin your chances of a good sleep. For optimum results, add carbohydrates like pasta, potatoes or noodles to your meal, like stir fry chicken with noodles or turkey with pasta. This will help tryptophan from the meat to boost melatonin.
The easiest and yummiest way to fall asleep is to grab a glass of tart cherry juice or simply gobble down a bowl full of the delicious fruit. Cherries are known to boost melatonin production.
Bananas are my favorite when it comes to sleep-friendly foods. They are basically sleeping pills in a peel. Not only do they contain tryptophan but also potassium and magnesium which can put you instantly to sleep by relaxing your body and calming the muscles.
Now The Worst Foods
Alcohol does induce sleep in healthy people and allows them to sleep deeply for a short while but don’t get tricked by that because alcohol also limits your REM sleep. This means that it disrupts the overall quality of your sleep, making it one of the worst things to have before bed or in the evening.
Unless you are on night duty, stay away from anything that contains caffeine. Tea, coffee, red bull and even cola drinks, are all caffeinated. Based on how your body reacts to caffeine, avoid tea and coffee in the hours leading to bedtime and gradually decrease your intake.
3. Spicy and Fatty Food
Your taste buds may crave for that bacon cheeseburger or that spicy chicken pizza but beware as having them will make you crave for a good night’s sleep. Avoid spicy and fatty foods at dinner as they can seriously disrupt your sleep.
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is also a sleep stealer mainly because it contains caffeine. Almost all chocolates contain a certain amount of caffeine and some are loaded with sugars, which can disrupt your sleep. Chocolates also contain Theobromine, a stimulant which causes sleeplessness. If you’re craving for chocolate go for a white one instead of dark.
You would be surprised to know but grapefruit and other citrus fruits can also disrupt your sleep. Having grapefruits before bed can increase the stomach’s acidity and also cause heartburn which is enough to keep you up at night.
So if you are looking for a natural drug-free solution to help you snooze, start making healthy and sleep friendly choices for dinner and bedtime snacks.
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