When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep it can take more careful planning than you may think.
While many people assume the key to a nice bit of shut-eye is wearing yourself out during the day, there are actually a number of other key elements that are most likely affecting the way you sleep — namely, food.
What we eat throughout the day and up until bedtime has a huge affect on our quality of sleep and can be the difference between a solid eight hours rest and a night of tossing and turning.
Changing your diet to help you sleep is a lot easier than you may think. There are a few things your should definitely avoid, and others you might want to think about adding to the menu.
Fermented foods like soy sauce, tofu, miso and teriyaki sauce have high quantities of tyramine, which can cause your blood pressure to spike.
Tomato-based foods can cause acid reflux and heartburn so it’s best to avoid things like tomato-based pasta sauce before bed. If you’re craving pasta, switch your sauce for a pesto-based version instead.
Aside from all the sugar, which will give you a spike in energy, milk chocolate contains tyrosine — a naturally occurring protein which increases alertness therefore keeping you awake for longer. It’s not all bad news though. Swap your milk chocolate for dark instead, which contains serotonin to relax your body and mind.
It may relax you and make you sleepy while you’re drinking it but alcohol is almost guaranteed to see you tossing and turning all night as it prevents the body from entering the deep stages of sleep.
Processed or Smoked Meats
These meats are packed with chemicals and additives that will keep you alert and awake for most of the night. Not only that, they’re loaded with fat and salt too. Not the best thing to be eating before bedtime…
One of the fastest ways to trigger heartburn is to eat something spicy and unfortunately this keeps plenty of people awake and uncomfortable every night. Keep the hot stuff to a lunchtime food only and you’ll be a lot more well-rested for it.
They say eating too much cheese before bed will give you nightmares, but it’s hard to have nightmares if you can’t get to sleep in the first place! Tyramine makes an appearance here again, so avoid eating Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and other hard cheeses before bed.
Bananas are packed with magnesium and potassium, which act as natural muscle and nerve relaxants. The vitamin B6 also converts tryptophan into serotonin, increasing relaxation even more.
This delicious dip is more than just a tasty snack. Like bananas, it contains tryptophan, which is a key ingredient to create serotonin — the good stuff that helps you sleep.
Drinking caffeine-free teas are a great way to relax before bed. The best ones to lull you into sleep are chamomile, passionflower hops, and lemon balm. Avoid Ginseng tea though, as it will wake you up and keep your brain active. Try it in the morning instead!
This delicious fruit contain melatonin — otherwise known as the sleep hormone. A few of these before you go to bed will help regulate your sleep cycle and see you fall into a deeper, more peaceful sleep. Melatonin is also found in almonds so try combining the two for a delicious — pre-bedtime snack.
The glucose in the honey helps your brain switch off as you’re going to sleep, but be careful not to overdo it. Glucose is a type of sugar and you don’t want to filling yourself with those kinds of calories before you lay down for night. Add a teaspoon to your tea or drizzle it over a little yoghurt with cherries and almonds.