There’s nothing more frustrating than lying in bed after a long day and still not being able to nod off to sleep right away. Insomnia can affect your body and mind, both in the long and short term. You need to get enough sleep in order to make sure your body is recovering from all the mental and physical stresses we are subjected to daily. Before you give up and consider popping sleeping pills or taking any extreme measures, changing your food patterns slightly can actually prevent and reverse insomnia.
No Food Before Bed
Your last meal of the day should be three hours before you head to bed. Eating a late dinner or snacking before going to sleep will activate your digestive system, making your body focus on digesting the food instead of relaxing and slowing down your system. Sugar containing snacks especially will spike your blood sugar levels giving you a shot of energy when you need it least.
More and more research is reassuring us that bananas are one of nature’s most valuable gifts to our bodies. From boosting your mood, to giving you energy pre-workout, to helping you sleep better – the unique tryptophan, potassium, and magnesium trio found in the fruit boost both brain and muscle relaxation. Bananas also increase melatonin production, the hormone most responsible for the setting of your internal clock and sleep cycle. Don’t have bananas straight before bed though. Try to keep most of your fruit consumption in the first half of the day if you suffer with sleeping problems.
Remember when our mothers used to give us a warm glass of milk before bed to help us nod off faster? There is actually scientific meaning behind the tradition – all dairy products boost tryptophan production which helps in the production of the brain’s sleep chemicals. Make your last meal of the day a pot of yoghurt or maybe some cheese on crackers, or go back to basics with that warm glass of milk. All are comforting and sleep promoting.
If you are suffering sleep problems, avoiding all caffeinated drinks during your second half of the day is the smart choice to make (this includes green tea too!). If you still want something warm at night, camomile tea is a great herbal alternative. All herbal teas, but specifically camomile, have an awesome comforting and relaxing effect on our bodies especially our digestive system. Just remember not to drink straight before bed, because you don’t want your bladder to be the thing keeping you up throughout the night.
Tuna for lunch, anyone?
Yes, tuna is one of the richest protein sources we can add to our diets, but did you know it could also help you sleep better? The sleep promoting effects of tuna are down to its high levels of vitamin B6, which converts tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that work within our brain to promote sleep.
Lastly, remember that the food-sleep relationship is bidirectional. The right foods will help you sleep better just as more efficient sleep will lead to better digestion and metabolism.