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What You Should Eat Before Bed for Better Sleep

5/28/2017 6:28 PM Comments Posted By Floralyn Teodoro
Always heading to the kitchen for a midnight snack when you can’t sleep at night? What you eat can make or break the quality of sleep you wish to have.

If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed during your bedtime, you might want to revisit your food choices before you go to bed. There are certain foods and beverages that can either make you sleepy or keep you up at your bedtime.

To help you easily doze off and sleep better each night, here are foods and beverages you need to include in your dinner or midnight snacks:

Complex carbohydrates

If you want to sleep better, limit your intake of refined, white, and sugary products as they may impair your sleep by reducing your serotonin levels, a hormone that promotes quality sleep. Replace them with complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, fortified cereals, whole-wheat bread and crackers, and oatmeal instead.

Complex carbohydrates help deliver tryptophan, an amino acid that calms and sedates the brain for better sleep. So instead of grabbing chips and soda for your post-dinner or midnight snack, munch on complex carbohydrates instead.

Dairy products

Your mom isn’t giving you a warm cup of milk before bedtime for nothing. Low-fat and calcium-rich dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. The rich calcium content of dairy products makes you sleepy by helping the brain convert tryptophan into melatonin. You can partner your dairy with complex carbohydrates like crackers, etc.

Jasmine rice

According to a study, rice is a wise choice in solving your sleeping difficulties. A meal of starchy rice taken four hours before bedtime can help you sleep better. Rice’s high glycemic index can increase tryptophan and serotonin, two sleep-inducing chemicals. But among the different rice varieties, jasmine is the most recommended.

Nuts and nut butter

While watching your favorite television show ahead of your bedtime, snack on some nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts, or add nut butter to your whole-wheat bread or crackers. The pistachios are rich in vitamin B6, an essential vitamin in producing sleep-inducing melatonin and serotonin. However, you must make sure you won’t exceed a 1-ounce portion of nuts because if you do, you’ll feel more awake than sleepy.

Likewise, walnuts are good sources of tryptophan, an amino acid that enhances sleep by producing serotonin and melatonin. Almonds promote better sleep too with its rich magnesium content, a mineral needed for better sleep.

Herbal teas

Including a cup of herbal tea in your pre-bedtime routine can help you sleep better. Teas like chamomile, jasmine, and passion fruit are your best choices to drink an hour before bed to sleep more soundly. These teas have stress-busting properties that help calm your body’s nervous system and muscles for a restful slumber.

A cup of chamomile tea can help increase glycine, the simplest amino acid that acts a mild sedative for muscle and nerve relaxation.

Passion fruit tea, likewise, encourages a restful sleep with the Harman alkaloids found in its flowers. It makes you feel tired to induce sleep.

Adding honey to your tea can also improve the tea’s sleep-inducing benefits. Honey’s natural sugar raises insulin and allows easy entry of tryptophan into the brain. You can also use honey to sweeten your warm milk instead of sugar.

Greens (lettuce and kale)

Leafy greens like lettuce and kale are loaded with sleep-inducing qualities. Kale is rich in calcium which helps the brain make use of tryptophan to produce melatonin. Like kale, spinach and mustard greens also offer the same benefits.

Lettuce, on the other hand, contains lettuce opium or lactucarium, a milky opiate-like chemical that offers sedative and analgesic properties. So to achieve better sleep, add in a salad packed with these leafy greens on your dinner menu.

Fruits and berries

Certain fruits that are rich in melatonin can also help you fall asleep faster and snooze better. Along with nuts and oats, fruits like raspberry, dried plums, cherries, and bananas are natural sources of melatonin. If you include these fruits in your diet, they can help solve your sleeping difficulties and regulate your sleep cycle.

While the enumerated foods and beverages above can help you achieve a better and more restful sleep, here are the ones that can mess up your sleep and must avoid: peppermints, high-fat foods like burgers and pizza, processed meats, hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, energy drinks, black tea, and tomato sauce.

If you want to achieve and enjoy a restful sleep each night, be mindful of what you snack on before bed. Start eating well to sleep well.

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