Making Healthy Dietary Choices Across The Board Will Benefit Your Sleep
Eating healthy, whole foods throughout the day will help you sleep better.
Try to reach for whole foods and complex sugars all day, not just before bed. If you opt for plant based whole foods, like fruits, legumes and veggies, which are high in fiber and important nutrients throughout your day, your sleep will likely benefit, Cassetty says.
Foods That Help You Sleep Better
Yes, there really are foods that can help you sleep better.
If youre prone to tossing and turning, eating foods high in magnesium can help you drift off faster and stay in that restorative state, according to researchers at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities. Magnesium regulates circadian rhythms, so you get sounder, more satisfying sleep. Dark chocolate is a great source, as are a multitude of other foods weve highlighted below.
Check them out if you havent stopped reading at the mention of dark chocolate.
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Tips For Eating Foods To Help With Sleep
Eating the right kinds of food can help you get better quality sleep, but how you eat also matters.
Having a large meal right before bed isnt a good idea, even if youre eating foods on this list. It means your digestive system will be active right when you are trying to fall asleep.
You can, however, eat sleep foods with dinner or have them as a small snack a few hours before going to bed. The same goes for herbal tea and tart cherry juice. Drink them 2-3 hours before sleeping so that you dont have to make a bathroom trip in the middle of the night.
Most of these foods should be eaten in the evening for the greatest benefit. Tryptophan-containing foods can be eaten throughout the day to make sure your intake of this amino acid is adequate.
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Drinking Water Before Bed
Is drinking water before bed healthy?
Some people drink a glass of water before bed to remain hydrated through the night. But researchers question whether or not drinking water before bed is healthy.
Green Tea Is A Drink That May Help You Sleep
Enjoying 2 or 3 cups of refreshing green tea throughout the day could help you get to sleep at night.
Scientists have found that compounds in green tea affects serotonin levels and help to reduce stress.
Because green tea contains caffeine, it may not be the best drink to consume before going to bed. However, the journal Nutrients reported in 2017 that green tea with reduced caffeine content helps to improve sleep quality and also has an anti-stress effect.
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Caffeine Alcohol And Other Beverages
Watch caffeine consumption. This ones a no-brainer, but not drinking caffeinated beverages several hours before bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep. If youre sensitive to caffeine , you might want to swear off all coffee and avoid dark chocolate, or at least eight hours before going to bed. Paradoxically, some people seem to sleep better after consuming caffeine, which may explain the popularity of .
Avoid alcohol. Some people drink alcohol to get drowsy, but alcohol tends to cause restless sleep. The calming effect of alcohol also wears off after only a few hours, so youre likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
Dont drink fluids before going to bed. This might go against the habit of having a glass of milk before bedtime, but if you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it might be a good idea. You could try a glass of chamomile herbal tea, but no studies have definitely proven it aids sleep.
Eat Nuts Such As Walnuts Or Almonds Before Going To Bed
There is some evidence that nuts are some of the foods that have sleep-promoting effects.
For example, researchers found that almonds contain tryptophan that may help to increase serotonin levels. While there are no direct studies showing that almonds make you sleepy, studies show that almonds help to enhance the metabolism of serotonin in the brain.
Other studies have shown that walnuts have a sleep-enhancing effect. Walnuts contain good levels of serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin.
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Foods And Drinks With A High Caffeine Content
Drinks that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, or energy drinks, including Red Bull and Monster, can alter your sleep pattern by keeping your mind awake and overactive. Be aware that some foods contain caffeine, too. Dark chocolate is one of them. Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day and before you go to bed.
Nightcaps Are A Bad News For Sustained Slumber
Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it often causes more arousals throughout the night.
Even though the name sounds promising, nightcaps and other alcoholic drinks are a bad choice before bed. You might think that you sleep well after drinking, and in some ways you do. Alcohol generally makes it easier for people to fall asleep, and can cause you to succumb more quickly to a deeper sleep. However, researchers found that for both heavy and light drinkers, alcohol tends to cause increased wake after sleep onset, which refers to how much a person wakes up after initially falling asleep.
Alcohol also changes REM, or rapid eye movement, throughout the night. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause a decrease in REM sleep. This stage of sleep is hypothesized to be important in memory, and could be connected to our ability to regulate emotions.
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Look For These Key Nutrients
So youâre ready to answer those hunger pangs. Now what? Most nutritionists and sleep specialists agree that some foods are better than others. Certain foods are rich in ingredients that can promote a good nightâs sleep, while others can have the opposite effect, setting us up for a restless night.
When thinking about the best foods before bed, look for snacks that are a good source of these key nutrients: tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body regulate sleep and mood, and magnesium, an essential mineral with lots of health benefits â deeper, more sound sleep being one of them. Both tryptophan and magnesium help produce and regulate melatonin, a hormone thatâs a vital component to our sleep-wake cycle, and helps prepare our bodies to wind down.
Now, letâs start with 5 of the best, and worst, foods to eat before bed.
Foods To Eat For A Better Nights Sleep
Do you get enough shut-eye each night? Finding it hard to nod off can be infuriating, but it could also harm your health. A significant lack of sleep is linked to a lower life expectancy as well as common chronic illnesses. Needless to say, finding ways to improve your sleep is essential to your wellness. You may be surprised to learn that what you eat could have a major impact on this aspect of your life. Lets take a look at the best foods to consume when you want to get more and better ZZZs.
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Try Cherries Before Bed
A lesser-known alternative to warm milk is a surprisingly brighter snack fresh cherries or cherry juice. A 2010 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that drinking cherry juice right before bed is a good way to help you get to sleep. In fact, some research has found it to be just as effective as taking melatonin, the over-the-counter hormone that encourages sleep, before bed. Not only is this a healthy way to promote sleep, but adding another serving of fruit to your day is also a healthy choice for your diet.
Drink A Warm Caffeine
Bogden recommends drinking a cup of chamomile tea, calling it an all-natural sleep aid. But theres another nighttime beverage she loves.
I swear by golden milk, a turmeric-based almond milk with dates, as a sweetener, she said.
The drink which is traditionally made with either cows milk or plant-based milk gained popularity among the Western world a few years ago. Turns out, its quite beneficial to sleep.
Turmeric is a powerful, anti-inflammatory spice that promotes a sense of calm and aids in digestion, thereby enhancing sleep quality, Bogden said.
However, she recommends keeping the drink plant-based.
Cows milk can be extremely inflammatory for some, leading to gas and bloating not ideal before bed, she said.
All of the experts agree that its not just what you eat, but also when you eat.
Allow two hours or more between your last bite of food and bed, no matter what you choose to eat, and one hour before when it comes to beverages, Bogden said.
And Beitchman suggests spacing your meals four to five hours apart so your body has time to digest the food.
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Boiled And Cooled Potatoes
Potatoes typically have a higher GI especially if theyre processed or heated at high temperatures, but boiling preserves some of the resistant carbohydrates that balances blood sugar. If you go one step further and cool those potatoes overnight, you gain back some of the RC in a process known as starch retrogradation. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas contain some RC too and benefit from the same preparation. Eating RC a few hours before bed allows the carbohydrates to slowly release for balanced blood sugar throughout the night.
Broccoli Choose Foods With High Fibre Content
Researchers have linked fibre to deeper, more restorative sleep. Eat food that contains too much fat, however, and its either harder to sleep well, or you dont experience as much of the deep-sleep stage of sleep. Choose foods that are high in fibre, such as broccoli, beans, and raspberries, and cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat.
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Is It Bad To Eat Late At Night
First, a note on timing. “A question I get asked a lot is, ‘Is it bad to eat late at night?’ Well, today we’ll dive into this quandary and I’ll give you some tips about what to eat if you do opt for a pre-slumber snack,” says Beckerman at the top of the episode. According to Beckerman, the answer is that it’s totally fine to eat late at night, it’s just about figuring out the right foods, portion, and timing. “The right kind of snack may actually act as a sleeping potion of sorts that lulls you softly into your dream world.” That being said, she says that a larger pre-sleep snack may upset your stomach, disrupt your sleeping patterns , and even minimize the quality of rest you get from your eight hours. Instead, she recommends keeping it relatively small and protein-packed. “If you can incorporate protein, it can help repair and rebuild muscles in need of a tune-up thanks to the release of human growth hormone while you snooze,” adds Beckerman.
Not sure what to stock up on to maximize the quality of your time under the covers? Here, Beckerman, Wrobel, and a number of other dietitians picked their favorite sleep-enhancing foods based on key nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and tryptophanâwhich all play key roles in serious shut-eye. In an age of overachieving, it’s about time we all aim to be successful snoozers, too.
Nutrients To Eat For Better Sleepand How To Incorporate Them Into Your Diet
While the science on diets impact on slumber is still emerging, these nutrients and hormones have risen to the top as better-rest superstars.
Sometimes it can be tough to get enough sleep. In fact, a recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that a staggering 84% of adults admitted feeling tired during the weekmainly because they don’t sleep well, or they aren’t getting enough hours of shut-eye period. Beyond feeling more alert, there are a slew of health benefits associated with getting enough rest, including supporting a healthy immune system, healthy skin and a healthy heart. However, upping your hours of sleep each night can be easier said than done.
Lucky for us, researchers have identified specific micronutrients and other substances in food that show promise for the tired and weary among us. “The more interesting studies are in people who have some kind of sleep complaint, but not an actual disorder,” says Michael Grandner, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who studies nutrition’s influence on sleep. “They show that you can somewhat normalize or at least make sleep better. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions, but they are proof of concept.” Read on for five nutrients that can help you catch more zzz’s at night.
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Eat These Foods Before Bed To Get A Better Nights Sleep
How you eat affects so many of parts of your life, but did you ever wonder how it might influence your sleep quality and patterns? We know all about sleeping clean and how using screens at night can throw off our sleep patterns, but it turns out that what and when you eat can also have a major impact on your shut-eye. We chatted with a couple of experts to find out what food choices will help us get a good nights sleep.
What You Eat Before Bed Matters
You might not think about how your last meal of the day affects your sleep, but nutritional biochemist and author Shawn Talbott, PhD, gave us the deets: Diet can be extremely important for sleep quality. Eating the wrong things can interfere with our ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get good quality sleep. On the other hand, eating the right things during the day and before bed can actually improve the quality of our sleep. Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, a Harvard-trained physician with expertise in both traditional and integrative medicine, agrees. What you eat or drink hours before sleep can create breakdown products that impact and stimulate the brain to impede sleep, she explains.
What to Skip at Bedtime
Foods That Can Actually Help You Sleep Better
Do you have a go-to bedtime snack? Tell us what it is !
Things To Avoid Before Going To Bed
There are some things we choose to do before we go to bed that can really impede sleep. Eating heavy meals is one of them. The food could be heavy, or you could eat too much, even of the right things, forcing your body to focus on digestion instead of winding down to sleep. If you have to eat just before you go to bed, keep it to a light snack, such as crackers, cereal or peanut butter on toast.
Other things you should avoid doing before bedtime include:
- Watching TV or using the computer right before going to bed.
- Sleeping with any light on. Darkness stimulates melatonin production.
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Foods With Calcium May Help Induce Sleep
Milk and yogurt are good foods to eat before going to bed to help sleep better because they contain calcium.
Researchers have found that calcium-rich foods are among the functional foods that promote sleep. Calcium affects neurotransmitters that have a positive role in helping you sleep. Studies also indicate that calcium deficiencies can also result in insomnia and poor sleep quality.
The fact that milk is a rich source of calcium and also contains melatonin makes it one of the best drinks for getting to sleep.
Banana Cinnamon Drink For A Better Sleep
The minerals and amino acids in a banana help relax your body. Bananas contain the minerals potassium and magnesium which serve as muscle relaxants, which in turn helps your body feel ready to fall asleep.
Banana also contains tryptophan and is also a source of serotonin which has general sedative effects.
A small scientific study published in the Journal of Pineal Research found that blood levels of melatonin rose significantly about two hours after eating a banana.
Blend the ingredients until thick and smooth.
Note you can replace the water with milk but then you must add the honey which is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. This will help the tryptophan in milk cross into the brain as per the study I mentioned previously in the article.
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Nighttime Cravings And Actual Hunger Can Be Different Things
Consider if you’re actually hungry, or if you’re just bored, before indulging in a midnight or pre-bed snack.
When you get snacky right before bed, Cassetty suggests taking a moment to think about whether youre truly hungry, and your stomach is growling, or if youre reaching for food because youre bored. Some researchers think boredom snacking may serve as a distraction, and found that people in this situation often prefer unhealthy food.
If grabbing a quick nighttime bite has grown into a routine, Cassetty suggests replacing it with something elselike a jigsaw puzzle, soothing coloring books for adults, or quick meditation and deep breathing exercises. St-Onge recommends people set a time for the kitchen to closesay 7 or 8pm, depending on how early you like to go to bedand stick with it.