Are you eating foods that are preventing you from getting a good night's rest? In general, a well balanced diet that focuses on nutrient-dense foods and limiting sugars and fats will help support a healthy sleep. A healthy diet can also help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep throughout the night, and contribute to staying healthier with more energy the next day to be productive, and say “no” to junk food. Sleep, diet, and exercise all work hand in hand for a healthier, well rested life. Below is a list of foods to eat and to avoid for a good night’s rest:
Foods Containing Tryptophan
Most of us know this amino acid from turkey which tends to make us super sleepy after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Tryptophan helps our bodies produce serotonin that has been shown to reduce depression and increase sleep duration. Did you know it can also be found in lots of other common foods?
- Tart Cherry Juice: Cherry juice contains a high amount of melatonin which helps promote sleep and stay asleep longer. It also contains tryptophan and serotonin for a deeper sleep.
- Bananas: The perfect bedtime snack, they contain not only tryptophan, but also potassium and magnesium which helps our muscles relax.
- Oranges and Grapefruits: The high concentration of Vitamin C helps us stay asleep throughout the night. A lack of Vitamin C can lead to many health problems, including sleep issues.
- Walnuts: These nuts are a great snack because they contain melatonin which helps regulate sleep patterns and increase drowsiness.
- Peanut Butter: Surprise, surprise, Peanut butter is packed with tryptophan. It’s also been known to boost your metabolism, so it’s a great guilt-free treat before bed!
- Popcorn: Another perfect bedtime snack, popcorn is a complex carb that helps our bodies release serotonin to fall asleep. Make sure you stick to unseasoned popcorn to avoid stomach aches or waking up in the middle of the night due to extra sugars and sodium from flavorings.
Food and Drinks to Avoid:
Avoiding caffeine close to bed is pretty obvious, but studies have shown that the effects of caffeine can last up to 6 hours in our systems. You’ll want to avoid coffee or any foods that contain caffeine for at least 6 hours before bedtime. This includes foods like tea, sodas, and chocolate flavored products like ice cream.
Alcohol can also prevent us from getting a good night’s rest. While it can help us fall asleep faster, it can also reduce sleep quality by making us wake up in the middle of the night.
Foods that are high in sugar and highly processed can also interfere with our sleep. Eating highly processed foods and sugars can actually make changes to our blood sugar levels and make you feel more tired throughout the day causing us to eat more sugars or caffeine to make it to bedtime. This includes foods like ice cream and dark chocolate.
You’ll want to avoid spicy foods because they tend to elevate our body temperature which is a huge factor in getting a good night’s rest. In fact, our body temperature lowers when we enter REM sleep so you definitely don’t want to be heating up at night!
We hope you enjoyed our list of foods to eat and avoid! What are you favorite foods to snack on in the evening?