The Best And Worst Foods To Eat For Sleep

Whether you have insomnia or you just cannot sleep due to stress and anxiety, failing to get enough sleep comes with severe implications. If you do not get serious things such as high blood pressure and depression, then you might end up with a few extra pounds all because you do not get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for the body, and no human being can do without it. However, it is not always easy to fall asleep and sleep for long enough.

Different factors may keep you awake all night, but many research findings show that what you eat has an enormous impact on your ability to sleep. What you eat at dinner time or throughout the day will have an influence on how fast you fall asleep and even how long you sleep and on the quality of the rest that you get.

Whereas some kinds of food are very beneficial to your body and will help you sleep fast and well, others are bad, and they might be the reason why you have sleep issues. Here is a review of the best and worst foods to eat for sleep.​

The Best Foods To Help You Sleep Well

Jasmine Rice

jasmine rice

Rice is a staple dish in many cultures, and it makes part of most people's dinner a couple of times each week. However, most people do not know that some types of rice like Jasmine can also help with sleep. This rice has a high glycemic index, and this means that the body will digest slowly and hence also releasing glucose to your blood gradually.

In fact, a 2007 research by an American organization dealing with nutrition found that if you eat this rice four hours before bedtime, it will cut the time that it takes you to fall asleep by half.

Cherries

cherry

Cherries are a super food when it comes to sleep, and it is one of those foods that doctors and alternative medicine practitioners will always recommend. This amazing fruit is one of the few foods that contain natural melatonin which is a compound that regulates the internal clock of the body. You can also find natural melatonin in some best teas for sleep

There have been many studies on how this fruit helps with sleep and one study found that people suffering from chronic insomnia will witness a significant improvement in the length and quality of their sleep after taking cherry tart juice.

Almonds

almonds

Peanuts and cashews are a great source of magnesium, but almonds have a higher amount of this muscle relaxing compound than these other nuts. And so the fact that they have a lot of magnesium is enough evidence that they are perfect for sleep because this compound will relax your muscles after a long busy day and make it easy for you to sleep.

Almonds are also rich in calcium which works with the magnesium to relax your muscles and calm your body. The calcium will also help in sleep because it aids the brain in the conversion of tryptophan to melatonin.

Spinach

spinach

It is hard to come across any healthy foods list that does not include spinach. Apart from being good for the body, it is also one of the best foods for insomniacs as it is a very useful sleep aid.

Spinach is a great source of tryptophan, but apart from this, the green leaves are also rich in vitamin B6, folate, and magnesium which are all essential for synthesizing serotonin to produce melatonin. This vegetable also has a substantial amount of glutamine which is an amino acid responsible for stimulating the body to get rid of any cellular toxins that may cause sleeplessness.

Warm Milk and Cereals

cereals

Cereals are a must have in the morning for most people but what you might not know is that this breakfast dish can also help you sleep. Pairing cereals with skim milk will create a perfect bedtime snack, and it can be very helpful for people with sleep problems.

The cereals are high glycemic carbs, and so they can raise your blood sugar and insulin fast and hence increase the level of tryptophan in your system. Milk on the other hand already contains the tryptophan and so combining it with some cereals will help you fall asleep fast.

Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese

Even if you are having difficulty sleeping at night, you should not go to bed on an empty stomach. An empty stomach will not only make things worse, but it can also lead to weight gain by overfeeding in the morning.

A small bowl of cottage cheese before bed will help to silence your growling stomach, and it is also good for sleep. Cottage cheese contains the casein protein, and this ensures that you will not have to wake up due to hunger and it is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan.


Avoid These Foods And Drinks To Sleep Better

Coffee

coffee

That large cup of coffee that you cannot go to bed without having might be what is keeping you awake at night. In fact, research shows even taking coffee late in the afternoon or evening can affect your sleep significantly.

The caffeine in the beverage is a stimulant that remains active for more than eight hours and so if you have to take coffee it is important to limit your consumption to the early part of the day. Also, drinking coffee means that you have to wake up at night to go to the bathroom and this is bad for sleep.

Alcohol

There is a common misconception that a few glasses of wine after dinner are perfect for a good night’s sleep. It might be true that you will fee sleepy after taking alcohol, but it is not good for your sleep because it may make you feel drowsy, but it messes up with your REM sleep.

Research shows that alcohol prevents you from falling into the REM sleep cycle which is what the body needs as it is the most restful and restorative. Alcohol also makes you keep waking up at night to go to the washroom and this, in turn, leads to fragmented and low-quality sleep. Some studies also conclude that it leads to snoring which is also bad for sleep.

Sugary Cereals

As mentioned earlier on cereals can help you sleep fast and well, but this is if what you eat is whole grain. Most people do not like whole grain cereals because they do not taste very sweet and so they prefer to eat those with a lot of refined sugar and some beautiful colors. However, these sugary cereals are bad for sleep, and they will keep you awake for many hours if you take them late in the day.

These kinds of foods will digest very fast and lead to a sudden spike in your blood sugar level and hence throw off or reduce the lamount of some of the sleep-inducing hormones. Research also shows that people that eat low-fiber diets such as sugary cereals tend to have a lighter sleep than those that take high fiber foods.

Fatty Foods

fatty food

It is hard for most people to avoid taking fatty food because they are tasty and most also have a mouth-watering appearance. However, eating these foods will not only lead to weight gain but will also keep you awake at night.

Fatty foods like chips, ice cream, and other fried foods taste amazing, but it is important to know that the fat takes longer to digest than other types of food. Digestion is a slow process but it is even slower than usual when you eat fatty foods, and so the body will remain awake for many hours and also focus more attention on breaking down the food than sleeping.

Pizza

pizza

A slice of pizza will always satisfy your hunger whether you are working late or you just don’t feel like cooking. Pizza is one of the most convenient foods available and some people even claim that it comes as a balanced dish with vitamins, carbohydrates, and proteins.

However, even with all these conveniences, it is not suitable for anybody who wants to enjoy a good night’s sleep. The cheese, fat, and tomato sauce combination in pizza might be very tasty, but it is also terrible for sleep.

Tomato sauce is acidic, and so it might trigger acid reflux which is one of the gravest things that you can go through when sleeping, while the fat takes a long time to digest and hence also keeping you awake.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are always on the menu of most people’s dinner a few times a week, but they are also bad for sleep. Whether you are having a spicy Indian curry or just like adding a generous amount of Tabasco to your meals it might ruin your chances of sleeping fast and for long. These spices have metabolic boosting elements that can trigger heartburns for some people and hence make it hard for them to sleep.

Spices also have thermogenic properties that can lead to a rise in the core temperature of your body, and this will prompt you to feel awake or make your body struggle to remain asleep.


Conclusion

One-third of all adults will suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems at some point in life. Even if you are fortunate not to be among those that have to go through these sleep problems, there are still some nights when you will have a hard time sleeping. However, being careful with what you eat can help reduce the instances when you are not able to sleep. But, also make sure that you do not eat too much food because this will keep you awake regardless of the kind of food you eat.​

  • Jane
  • Updated March 9, 2017
Jane
 

I am Jane Collins, a Founder and a Main Editor of g9sleeptight.com. I decided to create this site to share my knowledge, guides and tips to help you to have a good night's sleep.

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