Sleep is one of the most vital components of our daily life. A good night’s sleep is crucial to our health because it allows our bodies to rest, repair, and regenerate. A lack of sleep can affect not just your mood, but also your motor abilities, exercise performance, and immune system. What may surprise you is how much food plays a role in having a good night’s sleep. Food is strongly tied to serotonin, a crucial hormone that, together with vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid, helps support restful sleep, says dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD.”
The Relation Between Diet and Sleep
It’s normal to want to find a cuisine that makes you sleepy or the one best food for sleep, but be realistic. A number of variables, including one’s physical and emotional well-being as well as exposure to light, can have an impact on the complex process of sleep. Diet has many different aspects. It is not caused by a single food but rather by when, what, and how much we eat throughout the course of a day, as well as over the course of weeks, months, and years. It is challenging to make generalizations about the ideal diet for everyone because people can respond differently to various diets. These elements make it challenging to plan research investigations that offer certain solutions regarding the best foods for sleeping.
Despite the desire, science does not allow extrapolating general conclusions from narrow studies. Given the complexity of nutrition and sleep, it may be more beneficial for many people to concentrate on the big picture — healthy eating and sleeping patterns — as opposed to specific foods and beverages.
There are three diets that may aid in the treatment of sleep problems:
DASH diet which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
A whole foods diet
These diets encourage the consumption of fish, nuts, and seeds, which contain vitamins that promote sleep. A vegan or vegetarian diet that emphasizes real, complete foods would also be beneficial because it contains the vegetables, seafood, whole grains, dairy, and lean proteins required to enhance overall health and good quality sleep. A diet that encourages sleep is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. However, be mindful of not eating too much protein.
What Are the Food Items That You Must Avoid Before Sleep?
Numerous dietary suggestions are consistent with the general advice to prevent sleep disturbances brought on by food and alcohol.
Caffeine should only be eaten in moderation, particularly in the afternoon or evening when its stimulant effects could keep you up all night.
It is recommended to consume alcohol in moderation because, despite the fact that it first makes you weary, it can interfere with your sleep cycle.
To reduce your risk of acid reflux and to avoid still being in the digestive process right before night, try to avoid eating too close to bedtime.
Be extra cautious while eating hot, greasy foods in the evening.
Which Food Items Should You Eat to Sleep?
Try to eat meals that relax the body, boost serotonin levels, and prepare you for sound sleep. Having meals that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates should assist, even though there aren’t any magical foods that make you fall asleep right away.
In fact, a research published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered that consuming meals high in fiber and low in saturated fat promotes deeper, more restorative sleep.
Kiwi – Despite being a little, oval-shaped fruit that is grown all over the world, the kiwi is most often associated with New Zealand. Kiwis come in green and gold varieties, however green kiwis are more usually grown.
Among the many vitamins and minerals that kiwis contain are vitamins C and E, potassium, and folate. Eating kiwis has been shown to enhance sleep, according to certain studies. Participants in a research who ate two kiwis an hour before night said they slept longer and better-quality.
Although the exact reason why kiwis may aid in sleep is unknown, researchers theorize that it may have something to do with their antioxidant qualities, capacity to address folate deficits, and/or high serotonin concentration.
Rice – There is some evidence linking rice consumption with better sleep, yet studies on carbohydrate intake and sleep have generally had mixed results.
In a Japanese survey of individuals, those who regularly ate more rice than bread or noodles claimed to sleep better. Even while this study was only able to demonstrate a correlation and not a cause-and-effect relationship, it is consistent with past research that demonstrated that eating high-glycemic index foods four hours before to bedtime improved sleep
However, given that sugary beverages and sweets have been connected to worse sleep, it also appears that not all carbohydrates and foods with a high glycemic index are created equal. The combination of certain foods and carbohydrates may change how they affect sleep For instance, a modest intake of protein and carbohydrates may help tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in sleep, be more readily absorbed into the brain. Tryptophan-rich proteins include turkey as an example.
Night time milk and malted milk – To make malted milk, milk is mixed with a specially formulated powder that mostly consists of wheat flour, malted wheat, and malted barley, along with sugar and a number of vitamins. It is known as Horlick’s, the same name as a popular brand of malted milk powder. Malted milk consumed before night has been linked to fewer sleep disturbances in earlier small trials. The source of these benefits is unknown, although it’s conceivable that the B and D vitamins found in malted milk are to blame. Melatonin is a substance which is naturally present in milk, and is also added to several milk products. Melatonin levels are higher in milk from cows that are milked at night; this milk may be useful in offering a natural source of the hormone that promotes sleep.
Fatty Fish – The numerous healthy fatty fish include salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel. They are distinctive due to their high vitamin D content. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid, are abundant in fatty fish (DHA). EPA and DPA are proven to reduce inflammation. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may enhance heart health and lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which are present in fatty fish, have been shown to promote serotonin production, which may enhance sleep efficiency. If you eat a few ounces of fatty fish before bed, you might sleep longer and go to sleep more quickly. To reach a strong conclusion regarding the ability of fatty fish to improve sleep, more research is necessary.
Almonds – Just a few of them can put you to sleep in no time. Tryptophan and magnesium, two minerals found in almonds, naturally reduce the activity of your muscles and nerves while keeping your heartbeat regular. It will also function with almond or peanut butter. Spread it on sweet potato toast, graham cracker toast, or banana toast. Again, limit your serving to a tablespoon to prevent feeling stuffed before bed.
Cherries and tart cherry juice – The best strategy for getting a decent night’s sleep, according to Michelle Dudash, RD, is to increase your melatonin intake. Apart from nuts and cereals, cherries are a natural source of melatonin. When ingested regularly, they can help you control your sleep cycle. Additionally recognised for encouraging sleep, tart cherry juice has even been investigated for its potential to treat insomnia. The health advantages of tart cherry juice are remarkable. First of all, it offers little levels of a few crucial elements, such magnesium and phosphorus. It also contains a lot of potassium. These reasons imply that drinking sour cherry juice prior to going to bed may improve the quality of your sleep. Tart cherry juice has a sleepy effect as a result of its high melatonin level. However, if you have difficulties going to sleep or remaining asleep at night, it might be beneficial to sip some sour cherry juice before bed.
Chamomile tea – Chamomile tea, a popular herbal beverage, may offer a number of health benefits. It contains well-known flavones. A class of antioxidants known as flavonoids reduce inflammation, which frequently plays a role in chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. The claims that chamomile tea may improve skin health, reduce anxiety and depression, and strengthen the immune system have some supporting evidence.
Chamomile tea also has certain unique properties that may improve the quality of sleep. Apigenin is a particular compound found in chamomile tea. This antioxidant interacts with particular brain receptors that may improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia.
If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, it is absolutely worth trying chamomile tea before bed.
Bananas – Magnesium and potassium, which are found in bananas, calm muscles and nerves. Even more relaxation is encouraged by the fruit’s vitamin B6, which converts tryptophan into serotonin.
Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is suitable for consumption day or night. Serotonin, which is found in dark chocolate, calms the body and the mind. The added health benefits that dark chocolate provides cannot be ignored.
Hopefully this article will be of help and will guide you on what you should eat and what you must not before going to bed. Do invest in a good pillow and mattress as well, for a better night’s sleep. Wondering where to choose your pillows and mattresses from, do give a visit to Sleepsia in line with international standards.
As they say, Eat, Sleep, Be Happy – Repeat.
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