Making some small dietary changes in your life can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep. Try these diet and sleep tips below and see if you can eat your way to better Zs.
Foods that Help You Sleep
Foods with Tryptophan - Foods that help you sleep include tryptophan-rich foods such as turkey, chicken, brown rice, nuts, fish, milk cheese, fruit and vegetables. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays a role in the production of melatonin.
Magnesium-Rich Foods - Foods with a lot of magnesium can act as natural sleep aids since magnesium is a natural sedative. Some foods high in magnesium that you should try to incorporate into your diet include dark leafy green vegetables, cashews, whole grains, wheat bran, almonds, seeds and legumes. Magnesium is also available as a nutritional supplement.
Carb & Dairy Combo– Dairy and carbs form a food combo that can help you sleep by increasing the amount of tryptophan in your blood. Try cheese and crackers or cereal and milk as a late night snack.
Hearty, Healthy Breakfast Foods – A hearty breakfast of whole grain breads, yogurt and fruit is a great way to start the day. It will give you energy and will fill you up so that may eat a more moderate lunch and dinner. Most Americans eat a large dinner which can cause sleep-disrupting indigestion and heartburn.
Foods that can Keep You Awake
Alcohol – While alcohol may initially make you sleepy, the effect wears off quickly. Alcohol–induced sleep is actually very poor quality sleep, and you will be prone to waking up in the middle of night.
Caffeine - Caffeine is a stimulant and known to cause insomnia so it is best to cut out all forms of it from your diet including coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate and certain headache medicines and cough syrups. If you can't completely wean yourself off caffeine, try to minimize your intake and avoid consuming it in the late afternoon and evening.
Sugar - Sugary foods should also be avoided since they can affect blood sugar levels at night that can disturb sleep.
MSG – Foods that keep you awake include MSG-rich foods. The preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used in some processed foods and some Asian foods. Some people are sensitive to MSG and can experience headaches and digestive problems that can disrupt sleep.
High Fat Foods – Burgers, fried foods and other foods high in fat can cause nighttime digestive problems which can interrupt your natural sleep cycle.
Spicy Foods – Spicy foods can lead to a bloated feeling and heartburn which can make it difficult for you to sleep. Avoid spicy foods within four hours of bedtime. Spicy foods can also promote night sweats in women who are in menopause.
Liquids – If a full bladder is keeping you awake at night, do not drink fluids within 90 minutes of bedtime.
Disclaimer: These statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult your physician regarding any sleeping disorders.