A good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with insomnia or wake up in the middle of the night. Thankfully, there are some foods that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Let’s take a look at some of the best foods for a good night’s rest.
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Tryptophan Rich Foods
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods, including eggs, milk, nuts, and seeds. Studies have shown that consuming tryptophan-rich foods before bedtime can help improve sleep quality. For example, one study found that people who had a warm glass of milk before bed fell asleep faster than those who didn’t have any food before bed.
Complex carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa have been shown to increase levels of serotonin in the brain which helps promote relaxation and better sleep quality. Studies have also found that eating complex carbs at dinner can reduce cortisol levels which helps lower stress levels and encourages deeper sleep throughout the night.
Bananas contain magnesium which is known to be a natural muscle relaxant as well as potassium which helps regulate blood pressure and reduce anxiety levels. Eating a banana before bed can help relax your muscles and make it easier to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Herbal teas like chamomile tea are known for their calming properties and ability to induce better sleep quality. Chamomile is rich in antioxidants and has been used for centuries to induce relaxation and reduce stress levels which can lead to higher quality sleep throughout the night. Additionally, herbal teas are caffeine-free meaning they won’t disrupt your circadian rhythm or cause you to stay up later than intended if consumed close to bedtime.
What foods to avoid before going to bed
When it comes to a good night’s sleep, we should all be aware of the potential risks that certain foods and drinks can have. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks are well known for their ability to keep us awake and should definitely be avoided close to bedtime. Alcohol consumption can also lead to impaired sleep and lack of quality REM sleep. Sodas containing high amounts of sugar may interrupt our bodies’ circadian rhythms and mess with our internal clocks. We may not realize it, but even something as seemingly harmless can mess with our sleep-wake cycle if consumed too late in the evening. Making sure you don’t consume overly sugary or caffeinated drinks—and avoiding over-eating—may help you get a more restful night’s sleep overall.
When you eat your dinner makes a difference too
Eating a meal late at night, especially one that is calorie-dense, can lead to disrupted sleep. This is because digestion takes a lot of energy and after having eaten, the digestive process inhibits the body’s ability to fall asleep through its production of certain hormones. In addition to causing poor quality sleep, late night meals can also contribute to weight gain as the saturated fats and carbohydrates found in most nighttime snacks may not be burned off before being stored as fat when you go to bed. For optimal rest and health, eating early enough in the evening so that digestion is finished before sleep will ensure that your body can get the restorative benefits of a good night’s rest.
If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, then consider adding some of these sleep-promoting foods into your diet! Incorporating tryptophan rich foods like eggs or nuts into your dinner meal or snacking on bananas late at night may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer so you can wake up feeling refreshed in the morning! Incorporating these nutritional elements into your regular diet will give you an extra boost when it comes time for bed each evening!
When it comes to health, a lot of people know what they should be doing – eat better, exercise more, de-stress. But actually making those changes can feel overwhelming and out of reach. That’s where my nutritional coaching sessions come in – think of them as a GPS for your wellbeing journey. Together, we’ll explore the intersection between food, exercise, sleep and stress to uncover what really works for you.
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