Snooze Foods – What to Eat to Help You Sleep
From a restless night after a post-dinner cup of coffee to the tiredness you feel after a big helping of your favourite comfort food, we’ve all experienced the effects that food and drink can have on our body. Experiencing a food coma? Feeling wide awake? Everything we eat and drink causes different responses and can alter our energy and alertness levels.
So if you’re struggling to sleep at night, you might find that changing up your diet can help. But what are the best foods to help you sleep at night? Should you snuggle down with a cosy cup of tea or a big bowl of porridge? If you’re wondering what to eat to help you sleep, this blog post has some great suggestions. It is believed that there are plenty of foods that make you sleepy, so we’ve pulled together a few of our favourites.
Foods to help you sleep
When it comes to snooze foods, a good guide is to look out for those that are high in carbohydrates or contain certain types of amino acid.
Some of the best food for good sleep includes:
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan. This helps the body to make both melatonin and serotonin, two hormones that help you to relax. Certain nuts, such as walnuts, are also rich sources of melatonin in themselves. Why not use them to top off a salad or porridge?
- Rice and potatoes: Wondering what to cook for dinner? A healthy side serving of carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes is perfect for promoting sleep. They work by helping your body to more easily access the tryptophan mentioned above.
- Fatty fish: Perfect for serving up alongside your potatoes, fatty fish contains a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids – both of which help to regulate your serotonin levels. This choice of snooze food may be particularly useful during the colder, winter months when your natural vitamin D levels are typically lower.
- Oats: They’re already a popular health food – but did you know that oats are an excellent snooze food too? As well as providing all the sleep-inducing benefits of other carbohydrates, oats are also great foods to help you sleep as they are high in melatonin. Not keen on porridge? A bowl of wholegrain cereal can deliver many of the same benefits.
- Herbal teas: If you find that the soothing sensation of a hot drink is an essential part of your bedtime routine, choose a decaffeinated option such as a herbal tea, in place of your regular cup of tea or coffee – as these are some of the worst foods to help you sleep (see below for foods to avoid).
What foods can disturb your sleep?
While there are plenty of foods that make you sleepy, others can actually disrupt your slumber – particularly when you eat them in the hours immediately before you go to bed.
So what foods can disturb your sleep?:
- Caffeinated drinks: Drinking a warm mug of tea or coffee is a popular bedtime ritual – but unfortunately, it’s not an effective way to drift off. In addition to the stimulant effects that can keep you awake, the caffeine contained by these drinks can also trigger night sweats in some people. Steer clear of fizzy drinks before bed too as many of these also contain caffeine.
- Alcohol: You might feel sleepy after a glass of wine or two, but that doesn’t mean that alcohol actually improves your quality of sleep. While drinking wine in the evening might help you to drift off initially, the alcohol can also cause you to overheat and experience night sweats, with the result that you wake in the night feeling clammy.
- Spicy foods, such as chilli or curry: As with alcohol and caffeine, spicy foods can trigger night sweats once you’re asleep, causing you to wake up feeling hot and uncomfortable. And, as we’ve all experienced at one time or another, once you’re awake it can be incredibly difficult to settle back into sleep again.
All of these are bad drinks and foods for good sleep, often resulting in the opposite effect. So if you’re struggling to sleep, take a look at the list above. If any of these are part of your evening routine, try cutting them out and replacing them with the foods to help you sleep – for a more restful and refreshing slumber.
Now you know what to eat to help you sleep, it’s time to give these techniques a go. Tried out these sleep-inducing foods and still struggling? Discover more sleep advice to help you get a better night’s rest.
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