There are many links between what and how you eat and drink and your ability to sleep soundly.
Carbohydrates May Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Some suggest that there is a close link between carbohydrate-rich foods, like pasta, potatoes, and bread, and sleep. Your digestive system (stomach & gut) like other muscles needs a good supply of oxygen and the appropriate hormones to enable it to work properly. After a meal, Mother Nature produces hormones that cause you to feel sleepy so that you are unable to move around and possibly divert oxygen away from your stomach to your limbs. You can use this to your advantage by making sure that your supper is rich in these carbohydrates.
Milk (Dairy) & Bananas Could Cause Sleepiness
Milk and bananas contain serotonin, a hormone that sends a message to your brain to cause sleepiness. So, there‘s truth in the traditional remedy of having a cup of warm milk before you go to bed. However, it need not be warm milk, it can actually be any temperature, and can be flavoured (avoid chocolate drinks though as these contain caffeine). Alternatively, try having a glass of low fat milk or yoghurt and a fruit like a banana before bedtime, it might just do the trick!
Avoid Stimulant Foods Before Sleep
Avoid stimulant foods and drinks for at least 2 hours before bedtime. These mainly include those that are high in caffeine – tea, coffee, colas, chocolate and chocolate drinks, and some of the health/vitality/energy drinks that contain stimulants. Be aware, if you had a lot of these foods and drinks (e.g. several cups of coffee) during the day, it might take your body several hours to clear them from your system.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
While a little drink can help you to relax, and a larger amount can make you feel tired, excessive amounts of alcohol can disturb your natural sleep patterns and dehydrate you, thereby decreasing the quality of sleep. You might sleep longer, but you will wake up with a headache, feeling sluggish, and your energy levels and sense of well-being will be at rock bottom.
Occasionally you’ll find that a particular drink aggravates your tendency to feel headachy and “hung-over”. Avoid those drinks and try others instead. Otherwise, keep your alcohol quantity low and/or only drink on special occasions, and when you don’t have to be at your peak the next day.
Headaches caused by alcohol consumption are mainly due to dehydration, therefore, drink lots of non-alcoholic drinks (water is ideal) throughout the rest of the night and the next morning.
Avoid Taking Supplements Before Sleep
Some vitamin, mineral and especially herbal supplements may contain stimulants or have a naturally stimulating effect. Taking supplements in the morning will be a better alternative.
You may also find that certain medications, such as antidepressants, can disrupt your sleep pattern. If you have a poor sleeping pattern and are on some form of medication, it might be worthwhile to check with your physician to determine if that may be the cause, or a contributing factor to your insomnia.
Try these eating tips if you’re struggling to fall asleep and have a good night’s rest.
Photo by Elena Vdovina