Foods that enhance sleep
Getting adequate sleep is vital to maintaining good health and optimum bodily function. That is why medical practitioners recommend that individuals get up to eight hours of sleep daily. However, some people do find it difficult to sleep well. Medical researchers and nutritionists are beginning to learn that not being able to sleep could be as a result of what one eats. For this reason, it is advisable to monitor what you eat and how it affects you sleep. This way you will be able to identify foods that may hinder your restful slumber and therefore avoid them. Being mindful of what you eat and drink before you go to bed may help you get better sleep.
Reach for foods rich in tryptophan
We’ve all heard of warm milk’s ability to send us off to dreamland. Do you know why it’s true? Dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other good sources include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs.
Indulge your carbohydrate craving (a little bit)
Carbohydrate-rich foods may help. So having a few good late-night snacks such as a bowl of cereal and milk, nuts and crackers, or bread and cheese can be helpful.
Have a snack before bedtime
If you have insomnia, a little food in your stomach may help you sleep. Drinking some milk may help, too. But keep the snack small. A heavy meal will tax your digestive system, making you uncomfortable and unable to get restful sleep.
Limit high-fat foods
Research shows that people who often eat high-fat foods gain weight and their sleep cycles tend to get disrupted. Why? A heavy meal activates digestion, which can lead to night time trips to the bathroom.
Beware of hidden caffeine
It’s no surprise that an evening cup of coffee might disrupt your sleep. But don’t forget about less obvious caffeine sources like chocolate, cola, and tea. Even decaf coffee has a trace of caffeine but not enough to be a problem. For better sleep, cut all caffeine from your diet four to six hours before bedtime.
Medications may contain caffeine
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs that may have caffeine in them include pain relievers, weight loss pills, diuretics, and cold medicines. These and other medications may have as much or even more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Check the label of non-prescription drugs or the prescription drug information sheet to see if your medicine interferes with sleep or can cause insomnia.
Skip the nightcap
Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but you might not sleep well, waking up often, tossing and turning, and even having headaches, night sweats and nightmares. It can help to down a glass of water for each alcoholic drink, to dilute the alcohol’s effects. But for a good night’s sleep, it’s better 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. If you indulge in a heavy meal, finish it at least four hours before bedtime.
Cut the fluids by 8pm
Staying hydrated throughout the day is great for your body, but cut it off before bed. You don’t want to have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom after you turn in.
Don’t smoke to relax
Even if it is one of your favourite ways to unwind, smoking isn’t a good idea, whether night or day. Nicotine is a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine. Avoid smoking before bedtime or if you wake up in the middle of the night. Keep trying to quit; it is hard, but it is worth it.