There are a number of factors which can have an impact on the quality of our sleep, such as how much exercise we have participated in during the day, and how much stress we are taking with us to bed. But one factor which we seldom consider is how what we eat and drink can contribute to our ability – or inability – to successfully hit the hay.
Studies have proven that what we choose to eat not only right before bedtime but hours before can play a role in how well and how much we sleep. We have listed a number of healthy foods which can actually help you enjoy a better night’s rest and a list of surprising foods which may be sabotaging your intentions of having a good, solid sleep.
From the Fruit & Vegetables Food Group
- Tart Cherries. One study found that tart cherries and tart cherry juice were a good source of naturally occurring melatonin. The effects of the tart cherries were modest for many but significant for others. Some participants were able to fall asleep a few minutes faster after drinking tart cherry juice and they had 17 fewer minutes of waking up in the middle of the night.
Sweet cherries may also help, but they do have 50 times less melatonin than their more tart counterparts. Dried cherries, on the other hand, appear to have none.
- Bananas contain magnesium and potassium, two chemicals which are natural muscle relaxants. They also contain carbohydrates which will help ease you into sleep.
- Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great for sleep for the same reasons bananas are: they are loaded with carbohydrates and they contain potassium.
Other great fruits, vegetables and beans/legumes which have potassium and can help you sleep are baked skin-on potatoes, papayas and lima beans.
From the Dairy Food Group
- For ages mothers have given their children a warm glass milk to help them fall into a restful slumber. As it turns out, it may not just be just an old wives tale. Milk contains the amino acids tryptophan and serotonin, both of which may help you sleep. Or maybe milk helps people sleep simply because it reminds them of a simpler, comforting time in their life.
From the Grains, Breads and Cereals Food Group
- Jasmine Rice. Rice is a staple in many peoples’ diets. Consuming jasmine rice four hours prior to bedtime can reduce the amount time it takes to fall asleep. A study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 and the authors found that high-glycemic-index foods like jasmine rice may increase the production of tryptophan.
- Fortified Cereal. If you like to have your cereal with milk, then you may be enjoying a double dose of sleep assisting foods. Foods with carbohydrates naturally have sleep-promoting qualities. Choose a cereal which contains lots of complex carbohydrates and as little sugar as possible.
- Quinoa, Barley and Buckwheat. Much like fortified cereal, these foods are loaded with complex carbohydrates which help promote sleep.
From the Meat Food Group
- Remember how sleepy you felt after dinner last Thanksgiving? It may not only be because you had had a little bit too much to eat. Turkey contains the chemical tryptophan which can help you sleep.
The Worst Foods for Sleep
There are some foods which we know are bad for our sleep. Any drinks or food with caffeine such as coffee, caffeinated tea and energy drinks are obviously major sleep inhibitors and disruptors. But there many be some other foods on this list which may surprise you.
- Spicy Foods. This is something to remember the next time you consider upping the ante on how spicy you want your next plate of curry to be. Research out of Australia revealed that young men who ate foods with Tabasco sauce and mustard in the evening had worse sleep. Spicy foods also increase your chances of suffering from heartburn which will definitely keep you up at night.
- Dark Chocolate. Often promoted as a healthy way to treat ourselves, if you are having a hard time getting to sleep at night, the dark chocolate may be to blame. A single 1.55oz Hershey’s special-dark bar has 20mgs of caffeine which is almost equivalent to half an ounce of espresso. It also doesn’t help that chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine.
- Fatty Greasy Foods. That bacon cheeseburger may make you feel sluggish and tired, but it is really working against you. Fat stimulates the body to produce acid in the stomach. This acid can then make its way up to your esophagus, increasing your chances of suffering from heartburn.
- Wine/Alcohol. Many of those who have a hard time falling asleep claim that alcohol does the trick. But while alcohol may help you force your body into sleep, those who drink to sleep suffer from a reduced amount and diminished quality of sleep. Alcohol can also make your snoring a lot worse, which will impact the quality of sleep for both you and your partner.
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You may have been a snorer before you decided to make changes to your diet, or you may have found because you are able to sleep for longer periods that you are more prone to snoring. Fortunately neither you nor your partner need to suffer through another night of poor and interrupted sleep because of the Good Morning Snore Solution©.
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