- Category: Articles
- Published on Monday, 12 September 2011 01:27
Will a snack before going to bed affect the way you sleep? Research has shown that there are some foods that will aid you in going to sleep but there are definitely some foods that you should pass on if you want to get a good night's sleep. Read on to find out which foods will help and which ones you should avoid.
In a world where it seems there are always things to do all the time we often cut out sleep to fit everything in. Doing this can have an adverse effect on our sleeping habits and as a result when we do want to sleep we can have a hard time trying to doze off. If this is something you can relate to, have you ever considered a quick snack right around bedtime?
We often equate food to a source of energy so eating before going to bed can seem counter-productive, however, as Dr Sears explains, certain foods can actually help us sleep. Foods containing the amino acid tryptophan are important for the production of serotonin in the human body and serotonin is a neurotransmitter that "slows down nerve traffic so your brain isn't so busy."1 As we can probably all empathise with not being able to sleep due to there being too much on our minds, it makes sense that we want to relax our brain just before bed time and one way to help this process is to eat tryptophan rich foods. These foods include dairy products, soy products, whole grains and almost all meat. Livestrong provides a good outline of these foods in relation to tryptophan if you would like to read more.
Beware of some of the traps when selecting your bedtime snack though. You will need to avoid stimulating foods that contain sugar and caffeine (that’s a given!) Also avoid heavy fatty foods as they will make your digestion kick in which will disrupt your sleep cylcle. There are also some tricky foods to avoid. We mentioned that food containing tryptophan can be helpful in getting us off to sleep but at the same time we want to keep proteins down to a minimum as they are harder to digest. You can look at some of these foods to avoid in more detail at WebMD as well as some other handy tips.
Finally, you can’t go past a humble herbal tea or a glass of warm milk for a nice relaxing bed time beverage. Just make sure you don’t have normal tea because of the caffeine content and don’t add sugar to your herbal tea or milk!