Who doesn’t love waking up feeling refreshed?
But, what people often don’t realise is the choice of food before bed also has an impact on how well we sleep.
Everyone deserves a good night’s rest! So, from what to eat to what not to eat, we’ve taken a closer look at how food and drink impacts your sleep.
The Best Foods for Late-Night Munching
Going to bed on a full stomach is never a nice feeling.
But, eating certain types of food can actually help you sleep better! So, if you get peckish before bed, here’s what you should be eating:
Food with Plenty of Vitamins
There are different types of vitamins, minerals and amino acids found in food that help encourage sleep.
The four most significant ones are:
• Vitamin B6
These vitamins and minerals help your body to produce the important sleep inducing the hormone, melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain that helps your body know when to sleep and when you should be awake and alert.
When your body isn’t producing enough melatonin, you may struggle to sleep at night.
Although melatonin is available widely in forms of pills and liquids, it’s a lot better for your body to get it from food. Here’s a closer look at some of the foods that produce this hormone:
Food with High Levels of Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body does not produce, absorbed from food and then converted to serotonin and melatonin.
Some foods you should eat before bed that are loaded with tryptophan include:
• Fruits such as bananas, apples, avocados
• Grains, rice, barley and wheat
• Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt
• Fish such as salmon, shrimp and tuna
• All green vegetables
• Nuts and seeds
Food with High Levels of B6
Vitamin B6 helps convert tryptophan into melatonin.
Therefore, this vitamin is essential in helping produce the sleep inducing hormone.
Some food with high levels of B6 are:
• Flax seeds
• Sunflower seeds
• Pistachio nuts
• Meat, such as chicken
• Salmon and tuna
• Dried prunes
Food with High Levels of Magnesium
Magnesium is very important mineral, often referred to as the sleep mineral.
The reason for this is it naturally neutralises adrenaline, therefore letting you sleep quicker and for longer.
Food that is rich in magnesium includes:
• Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
• Natural yogurt
• Wheat germ
Food Rich in Calcium
People that have calcium deficiency often wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to fall asleep again.
A diet rich in calcium can sometimes also help people with insomnia!
Therefore, try eating calcium rich food before bed, such as:
• Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt
• Dark green leafy vegetables
• Enriched fortified cereals
Food Containing Natural Melatonin
There are also some foods naturally containing high levels of melatonin that you can eat before bed to induce sleep.
• Rolled oats
• Flax seeds
• Sunflower seeds
• Walnuts and peanuts
• Fruits and vegetables such as olives, grapes, broccoli, tomatoes, pomegranates, tart cherries and cucumber
Sleep Inducing Drinks
Love a hot beverage before bed?
Try some of these sleep inducing drinks:
• Warm milk
• Chamomile tea
• Almond milk
• Peppermint tea
• Passion fruit tea
• Tart cherry juice
What to Avoid Before Bed
There’s two sides to everything!
Evidently, while some food is great for sleep, there are some that, although healthy, should be avoided before bed.
The following foods and drinks can affect the quality of your sleep negatively:
Energy drinks, coke, dark chocolate, coffee and tea are all great options when trying to wake yourself up in the morning or trying to get through your day.
But, they should be avoided 4/6 hours before bedtime, as caffeine will keep your mind alert – making it difficult to fall asleep.
Although some may believe having a bit of alcohol before bed may induce sleep, this is not true.
Alcohol may make you feel drowsy and make you fall asleep quicker, but the quality of sleep will be very poor.
Alcoholic drinks often disrupt sleep and therefore stop you from entering the deep sleep phase.
Avoid spicy food such as currys or kebabs before bedtime, as they often cause acid reflux and indigestion, resulting in difficulty falling asleep.
They can also cause heartburn, meaning you’ll be rudely woken up mid-sleep.
Food High in Fat and Protein
Fatty foods and food high in protein before bedtime should also be avoided, as they often result in disrupted sleep.
This is due to the stomach producing more acid to break down the fatty food.
Therefore, lying down will encourage acid reflux and heartburn, causing discomfort.
Food with High Sugar Content
Food with high sugar content can also affect sleep, due to causing your blood sugar levels to raise dramatically.
This can cause you to stay awake and alert or wake up in the middle of the night.
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