You are what you eat. This old saying stills holds true and has been subject of scientific research since the beginning of the last century. Food can alter your body and mind in subtle but meaningful ways.
What you choose and how much you eat before sleeping will impact the length and quality of your sleep.
Certain foods are better than others before sleeping and some foods should be completely avoided before going to sleep, if you intend on having a good night’s rest. Here are some tips on do’s and dont’s about food before bed.
What to eat before going to bed?
Complex Carbs and whole grains for your bedtime snack like Popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with nut butter, are good choices.
Oats are complex carbs and are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep. A hand full of these and you’ll be dozing off in no time.
Almonds or Walnuts are a source of melatonin and the sleep-promoting mineral magnesium, two properties that make them a great food to eat before bed.
Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that may promote sleepiness, and drinking it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality.
Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which may improve sleep quality when eaten before bed.
Watery fruits like Watermelon will hydrate you before bed and eliminate post-dinner hunger pains due to the fiber and volume.
Dark Chocolate contains serotonin, which relaxes your body and mind. Not to mention the other health benefits dark chocolate has too.
Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium and serve as muscle and nerve relaxants. The vitamin B6 found in the fruit also converts tryptophan into serotonin, increasing relaxation even more.
Which foods should be avoided before going to bed?
Anything too high in calories can have the reverse effect of keeping you awake! As the old saying goes, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” This saying will also help you lose weight, since our metabolism burns more calories during the day than at night.
Fried foods take a while to digest and absorb, they’re prime to give you heartburn if you eat them too close to bed.
High-fat foods like burgers and pizza take longer to digest, messing with your sleep.
Processed or Smoked Meats contain high levels of sodium, which will make you wake you up and reach for a glass of water. Sleep patterns aside, these meats aren’t the healthiest anyway.
Squeezed citrus, like orange and grapefruit juices, might trigger a nasty case of heartburn. The acidic foods can cause reflux in some people, so steer clear if you want to rest easy.
Tomato-Based Sauces and foods have a tendency to cause acid reflux and heartburn, which will prevent you from having a good night’s sleep.
Coffee obviously! Caffeine is a natural stimulant and will keep you awake. Black Tea to avoid as well, as it is a source of caffeine.
Energy Drinks may also be caffeinated, but on top of this, they also often contain taurine, an amino acid that increases alertness and elevates your heart rate and blood pressure.
Alcohol, even though it’s a depressant, it will, oddly enough, prevent your body from entering the deep stages of sleep.
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