Many people know that food is important. We need to eat to survive. But, some people may not realize how much of an impact what we eat has on us. Food affects how we feel, how we look and even how we sleep. So, if you have been having trouble sleeping, it may be time to change your diet to these types of foods instead of getting a new memory foam mattress.
Let’s start with what you shouldn’t be eating and drinking at night: caffeine and heavy foods. Ingesting caffeine throughout the day is okay, especially if you need a pick me up. Caffeine, however, stays in your body for hours and consuming it even 6 hours before bed time can reduce your sleep by a whole hour. Try to stop drinking coffee, tea or soda at least 6 hours before you want to sleep. Heavy, fatty or spicy foods are not good to have close to bedtime either. They can be harder for your stomach to digest, thus making it harder for your body to relax enough to fall asleep.
With that in mind, one type of food that is good to eat before bed are complex carbs. This includes food like oatmeal, anything whole-wheat, or popcorn. Carbs can help you fall asleep because they raise blood sugar and boost serotonin and tryptophan, two chemicals in your body that help you sleep. The best time to eat this is at least 4 hours before bed.
Another good food to help you sleep is nuts. Walnuts and almonds actually contain the hormone melatonin which is what helps your body regulate your sleep. Nuts in general are also a good source of healthy fats and nutrients. Saturated fats in foods like chips or French fries bring your serotonin levels down, so it’s best to stick to unsaturated fats that are found in nuts and peanut butter.
Like walnuts and almonds, some fruits can also contain melatonin to help you fall asleep. Fruits like bananas, pineapples, oranges and cherries are all sources of melatonin. Kiwis have also been linked to helping people get over their insomnia. This is because kiwis contain serotonin. A study was done where 24 adults ate two kiwis before bed every night for a month. The results showed that 42% of the adults fell asleep quicker after eating a kiwi.
Since these are all snack foods, a good food to mention that may curb your hunger better is turkey. Turkey can help make you feel tired because it contains the aforementioned chemical tryptophan which helps your body produce melatonin, in turn making you tired. Turkey is also a great sourced of protein and protein has been linked to better sleep quality throughout the night.
Last is a good cup of warm milk. Growing up, your parents may have given you a glass of warm milk to help you fall asleep. There has been a lot of debate about whether or not milk actually helps you fall asleep or just having a warm drink is what relaxes you enough to get tired. But, milk actually contains tryptophan which we’ve discussed. This means milk can improve sleep chemically.
Ultimately, these are all delicious and easily accessible foods. If you try one and it doesn’t help you sleep, at least you got to have a snack!