Grand Opening Sale
Special Financing Available

The Best, and Worst, Foods For Sleep

There are a lot of things that we can do to help ourselves get a better night’s sleep, and there are many more things that we can do to make it harder on ourselves. Though there is no magic wand for sleep quality, something as simple as eating the right thing can give us as big a leg up as eating the wrong thing can completely wreck our chances of snoozing. Here are several of the foods that can make falling asleep at night easier, as well as a list of those that you should avoid at all costs in order to get the quality sleep you’re looking for.

Foods That Help You Sleep Better:

• Eggs – Eggs contain amino acids, and studies have shown that they stimulate the neurons in your body that produce orexins. Orexins play an important role in keeping you awake during the day, as well as in making sure that you are getting enough rapid eye movement sleep (REM) at night. • Tart Cherry Juice – Several studies have shown that people who drank tart cherry juice two times a day over a two week period extended the amount of time that they slept each night by almost an hour and a half. • Jasmine Rice – Jasmine rice is high on the glycemic index, and a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that people whose dinner was largely made up of the grain fell asleep twice as fast as people who ate rice that was low on the glycemic index. The researchers believe that this is because high glycemic index foods release tryptophan, an amino acid that has been shown to promote sleep. Other foods high in tryptophan include seaweed, soy, lean protein meats, and frozen spinach. • Unsaturated Fats – Heart-healthy fats are not only good for your body, they also increase levels of serotonin. Great choices include peanut butter and other nuts, including walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. • Hot or warm beverages that do not contain caffeine can help to relax you. Warm milk and herbal teas can be particularly helpful. • Fresh Herbs – Most people don’t realize that using fresh herbs in your food can create a calming effect. Basil and sage are particularly good for this, as both reduce tension and promote sleep.

Foods That Work Against Sleep Quality and Quantity:

• Coffee – This is one that everybody knows but that still bears repeating. The caffeine that you take in with your morning coffee actually stays in your system for several hours. Experts say that coffee is a great pick-me-up for the morning, but it should be avoided after the early afternoon. And remember that when you’re eating coffee flavored ice cream, candy or other treats, you’re still taking in caffeine. • Chocolate – You may not know this, or you simply may not WANT to know it, but chocolate is high in caffeine. Many people have gotten into the habit of having a piece of dark chocolate as a heart-healthy treat before bedtime, but the truth is that your tiny little treat can have a powerful negative impact on the way you sleep. Eating a single square with dessert is probably okay, but once you have more than a couple you’re definitely sabotaging your sleep quality. Depending upon the brand, a bar of chocolate can contain as much caffeine as a caffeinated soda or a cup of coffee.

Chocolate has caffeine and can be a horrible choice for a late night snack Chocolate has caffeine and can be a horrible choice for a late night snack

• Alcohol – We’ve all heard of having a nightcap before bed, and many people think that having a drink or a glass of wine before turning in can actually help them sleep. They’re not entirely wrong. Your alcoholic beverage before bed will make you fall asleep faster, but it will have a negative impact on your sleep quality as the hours wear on. The sleep that your adult beverage messes with is the kind that is most important to your memory and motor skills the next day. It is also what will make you feel the most tired. It’s okay to have a glass of wine with dinner, but if you’re looking for a better night’s sleep, you’re better off cutting yourself off pretty early. • High Fat Foods – Just as eating heart-healthy fats can help you get to sleep, the unhealthy saturated fats that feel like comfort to so many of us can actually turn a good night’s sleep into a bad one. They make you sleep during the day and fragment your nighttime sleep. Eating too much heavy food can also make you feel uncomfortable, which is yet another contributing factor to not being able to get to sleep. • Steak – Even though lean proteins like fish and chicken may help you get to sleep (and especially turkey, with its high levels of tryptophan), eating a steak is problematic for those having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. The heavy protein in beef is very difficult to digest, and harder for the body to break down. The energy that the body expends breaking down a big steak is more than we’re built to process in the middle of the night, and can make sleeping tough. • Spicy Foods – Eating foods that are heavily spiced has long been an invitation to heartburn, especially if you’re eating them late at night. But a recent study has introduced a new way that Tabasco sauce and other high-heat foods may interrupt your sleep. Turns out that spicy foods actually increase in your core body temperature. It has long been known that a fall in core temperature is part of the process of getting to sleep easily, and apparently the spicy food interrupts that process. • Citrus – Grapefruit, lemons and oranges aren’t foods you would naturally associate with difficulty sleeping, but because they increase the acidity in the stomach, they can actually give you heartburn and keep you up. Better to stick to warm milk or hot herbal tea.

Leave a Reply

Back to Top