About 69 million Americans suffer from insomnia, according to a study. Being deprived of sleep is robbing your body of its restorative and nourishing benefits.
Even without statistics, if you are sleep deprived for several nights, you’ll notice that you are sluggish, low on energy and have difficulty dealing with stress.
Did you know that lack of sleep could affect your health and well-being? The U.S. National Institute of Health says that sleep has a big role to play in healing and repairing your blood vessels and your heart.
Moreover, did you know that the food you eat, especially at dinnertime is related to how good your sleep is going to be?
There are several food items that you should not eat in the evening, just as there are also plenty of good food and healthy nighttime snacks that can help have a good night’s sleep, as well as keep your weight down.
Food to help you sleep
An amino acid called tryptophan is necessary for normal metabolism and growth. It also helps you sleep by encouraging the release of melatonin and serotonin, which are hormones that induce sleep.
Some of the tryptophan-rich foods are bananas, seeds, nuts, oats, tuna, cheese, beans, fish, chicken, eggs, milk and yogurt. This is why your parents told you to drink warm milk before bedtime. Calcium, which is found in dairy products, also boosts melatonin and serotonin levels.
Herbal teas such as orange blossom, valerian and chamomile can help you sleep better.
Healthy light snacks
There are occasions when you fall asleep quickly but wake up in the middle of the night. If you find it difficult to get back to sleep, try having a light snack instead of watching television.
A snack comprising complex carbohydrates such as a small chicken sandwich, a small bowl of oatmeal or some wholegrain cereal will do wonders. The combination will help release ample levels of serotonin in the brain, helping you fall into a deeper and more restful sleep.
Eating a banana before you go to bed is also good. The banana will digest slowly as you sleep and release its nutrients throughout the night.
Aside from the above, here are some other suggestions that you can eat in the evening to help you sleep better:
- One ounce of mozzarella cheese and six whole grain crackers
- One half of whole grain pita bread with two ounces of egg salad or sliced turkey breast
- Handful of almonds, cashews or peanuts
- A cup of milk and one small bran muffin
- One slice of whole wheat toast with one tablespoon of almond better
- One tablespoon of peanut butter and a piece of fruit
- Half cup of Greek yogurt
See to it that your nighttime snack should be 150 to 200 calories only.
When should you eat in the evening
It is important to observe the right time to eat before you go to sleep. Generally, you should eat at least three hours before you go to bed. Eating too close to bedtime can lead to indigestion or heartburn.
Your stomach produces acid to digest the food that you ate. Your metabolic rate and body temperature will also increase after you have eaten. These conditions prevent you from falling asleep.
It is ideal to have larger meals during the day and just have a small meal or a nutritious snack in the evening.
In the same token, there are also foods that you should avoid eating before going to bed. Do not drink tea or coffee as they have caffeine, which is a stimulant. This type of stimulant reaches its peak between one to three hours after you’ve taken it. Do not drink alcohol, too. Do not eat aged and fermented foods too, such as sauerkraut, cheese and cured meats.
Now you have an idea of what healthy meals and snacks to eat to ensure that you’ll have a good night’s sleep.