The Top 5 Vitamins And Minerals For Great Sleep
These vitamins and minerals will help you snooze soundly tonight. Eat ’em and sleep:
- B Vitamins: They improve your body’s ability to regulate its use of sleep-inducing tryptophan and produce more system-calming serotonin.
- Find Them In: Chicken breast, lean beef, salmon, bananas, potatoes, cereals fortified with B3 or B12
What To Eat If You Want To Go To Sleep Faster
You’re running on empty and you can’t wait to finally collapse into bed after a long, exhausting day. You run through your sleep rituals: change into your pajamas, put your iPhone on Night Shift, switch off the lights and then: nada. You just can’t sleep. You’ve shut everything off except yourself.
More than one-quarter of the U.S. population reports occasionally not getting enough sleep and nearly 10 percent have chronic insomnia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But if you’re having trouble sleeping, catching up on zzzs may be as easy as switching up your dinner plate. Food is Mother Natures natural sleeping pill you just need to make sure youre choosing the right things to nosh on.
Contrary to popular opinion, a glass of warm milk before bed wont send you into a deep slumber.
Some foods contain nutrients that may help us to relax, while others have components that may interfere or prolong digestion leading to delayed relaxation, says Melissa Rifkin, RD.
Those foods that make you sluggish or relaxed during the day, like white bread, milk chocolate, bananas, cherries and chamomile tea, are the ones you want to reach for at night, she says.
Malted Milk And Nighttime Milk
Malted milk is made by combining milk and a specially formulated powder that contains primarily wheat flour, malted wheat, and malted barley along with sugar and an assortment of vitamins. It is popularly known as Horlicks, the name of a popular brand of malted milk powder.
In the past, small studies found that malted milk before bed reduced sleep interruptions. The explanation for these benefits is uncertain but may have to do with the B and D vitamins in malted milk.
Milk itself contains melatonin, and some milk products are melatonin-enriched. When cows are milked at night, their milk has more melatonin, and this milk may be useful in providing a natural source of the sleep-producing hormone.
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Tip : Wind Down And Clear Your Head
Do you often find yourself unable to get to sleep or regularly waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well. Taking steps to manage your overall stress levels and learning how to curb the worry habit can make it easier to unwind at night. You can also try developing a relaxing bedtime ritual to help you prepare your mind for sleep, such as practicing a relaxation technique, taking a warm bath, or dimming the lights and listening to soft music or an audiobook.
Problems clearing your head at night can also stem from your daytime habits. The more overstimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be to slow down and unwind at night. Maybe, like many of us, youre constantly interrupting tasks during the day to check your phone, email, or social media. Then when it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain is so accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation, it becomes difficult to unwind.
Help yourself by setting aside specific times during the day for checking your phone and social media and, as much as possible, try to focus on one task at a time. Youll be better able to calm your mind at bedtime.
Are You A Lark Or An Owl
Research suggests that whether you’re a morning or an evening person is determined by your sleep chronotype. The time of day you eat is predictive of your sleep chronotype: larks almost always eat breakfast within half an hour of waking, whereas owls are more likely to skip breakfast and eat late in the evenings.
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Know How To Break The Rules
Everyone wants a midnight snack sometimes. Not only can it disrupt your sleep, though, eating during the sleep cycle makes it more likely that youll store the food as fat. Since youre going right back to lying down, its also more likely to result in acid reflux and other issues. Then again, its not good to have an empty stomach – hunger can keep you up. Stay balanced with the foods on the good list above and ignore your sugar cravings. A piece of whole-wheat bread with almond butter is perfect.
There are plenty of times when you dont get dinner until late. To help your body digest while you sleep, sleep on the left side. Gravity will work with your organs to get things where they need to go.
To help with acid reflux, sleep with your upper body elevated. This can help keep the acids down in the stomach rather than rising up to cause problems.
However, if youre looking for a more interesting night, eating closer to bed has been shown to cause more unique dreams. A study showed that dairy and spicy foods gave the participants increasingly bizarre and disturbing dreams. This might be because they werent sleeping as well and remembering the dreams later.
Oatmeal With Milk Ginger And Honey
Whole grains such as oats increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that relaxes the nerves and tells the brain it’s time to sleep, says Karla Giboyeaux, M.A., RDN, a dietitian based in New York City. Meanwhile, quicker-digesting carbohydrates such as honey and the lactose in milk stimulate insulin release, which in turn allows tryptophan to enter the brain, where it can produce more serotonin. That means this combination doubles your sleepiness factor. Our may sound like they’ll keep you up, but they can also help you sleep, thanks to the oats and honey .
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Cut Back On These 2 Things
Processed foods like deli meats contain a lot of sodium, which can interrupt sleep by raising your blood pressure and dehydrating you, Cornell’s Maas says. And surprise, surprise: Limiting caffeine is key. It stays in your system for up to 12 hours, so the effects of an afternoon latte could linger til midnight. Try skipping the joe tomorrow: Not having caffeine for a single day can improve sleep quality that night, research has found.
How To Eat All Day So You Sleep Well All Night
The first step toward better sleep is eating balanced, nutritious meals and snacks evenly spaced throughout the day. Eat too little during the day, and youll overstuff yourself in the evening, leading to a night of tossing, turning, and indigestion. Eat too little for dinner, and you might find yourself lying awake, longing for a trip to the fridge.
If you have GI issues such as gluten or lactose intolerance, eating certain foods in the evening can sabotage your sleep, too. Take time to learn your GI triggers, such as spicy food or alcohol, and avoid them, so you can drift off discomfort-free. Its also important to aim to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day experts say this will keep your stomach and your brain on a similar sleep schedule.
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Diet And Sleep: The Big Picture
Its natural to want to find a food to make you sleepy or the single best food for sleep, but its important to be realistic. Sleep is a complicated process affected by many things including mental health, light exposure, and underlying physical issues.
Diet is also multifaceted. It isnt just one food instead, it is cumulative, affected by when, what, and how much we eat throughout a day and over weeks, months, and years. Individuals can have distinct reactions to different diets, making it hard to generalize about the perfect diet for everyone.
Because of these factors, its hard to design research studies that provide conclusive answers about the optimal food for sleep. While its tempting to try to draw hard-and-fast conclusions from individual studies, the science doesnt support broad extrapolations.
Given the complexity of diet and sleep, for many people it may be more meaningful to focus on the big picture healthy sleep and diet habits rather than on individual foods and drinks.
Eat Whole Foods Not Processed Foods
Whole foods, which are typically defined as being minimally processed and packed with fiber, are another food category to consume from throughout the day so your stomach is happy at night.
Whole foods, including complex carbohydrates that are slower digesting, can help keep the body balanced in this way, said Celine Beitchman, director of nutrition at the Institute of Culinary Education.
These foods contribute to overall, balanced nutrition and ultimately prove helpful when its time to hit the hay. They help settle the digestive system, while sugary or overly processed meals can lead to spikes in blood sugar.
A few options that Beitchman recommends include a breakfast consisting of whole grain porridge with dried or fresh fruit and toasted nuts, or eggs with 100% whole grain bread.
For lunch or dinner, try a pan-seared salmon with bulgur pilaf, which is also packed with magnesium. The fish can easily be swapped out for tofu, tempeh or seitan to make the meal vegan.
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Keep Your Room Dark Cool And Quiet
Keep noise down. If you cant avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help.
Keep your room cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.
Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. By not working, watching TV, or using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex, which makes it easier to wind down at night.
Consider These Other Supplements
Several supplements can induce relaxation and help you sleep, including:
- Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid sleep, relaxation, and stress reduction, but the evidence is limited. Take 250 mg 3060 minutes before bed (
Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone , which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions .
Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can reduce nighttime melatonin production and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
Many people believe that the bedroom environment and its setup are key factors in getting a good nights sleep.
These factors include temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement .
Numerous studies point out that external noise, often from traffic, can cause poor sleep and long-term health issues .
In one study on the bedroom environment of women, around 50% of participants noticed improved sleep quality when noise and light diminished .
To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.
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The Best Foods For Sleep Deprivation
Relax And Clear Your Mind In The Evening
Many people have a pre-sleep routine that helps them relax.
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality and are another common technique used to treat insomnia (
One study in older adults determined that exercise nearly halved the amount of time it took to fall asleep and provided 41 more minutes of sleep at night .
In people with severe insomnia, exercise offered more benefits than most drugs. Exercise reduced time to fall asleep by 55%, total night wakefulness by 30%, and anxiety by 15% while increasing total sleep time by 18% .
Although daily exercise is key for a good nights sleep, performing it too late in the day may cause sleep problems.
This is due to the stimulatory effect of exercise, which increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline.
However, some studies show no negative effects, so it clearly depends on the individual (
Drinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to similar symptoms, though some people are more sensitive than others.
Although hydration is vital for your health, its wise to reduce your fluid intake in the late evening.
Try to not drink any fluids 12 hours before going to bed.
You should also use the bathroom right before going to bed, as this may decrease your chances of waking in the night.
Skip Sugar And Caffeine
According to the National Sleep Foundation, consuming more than three 8-ounce cups of caffeine a day may impact sleep, and six or more cups is considered to be excessive intake. Because the body takes about six hours to metabolize caffeine, drinking or eating foods with caffeine is not recommended within several hours of lights out. Its important to remember that people react to caffeine differently, so find a pattern of consumption that works for you.
Sugar has also been tied to sleep problems. A study at the University of Californi at San Francisco, found that children with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have trouble sleeping if they have elevated blood sugar levels. Because sugar gives you a temporary energy boost, its best to avoid sugar and other processed foods shortly before bed.
Recipes For Better Sleep
The facts are in: The right foods and drinks can support your ability to enjoy a sound nights sleep, and good recipes can help!
Make these Toasted Pistachio and Cherry Overnight Oats and enjoy them in the morning. Perhaps you will feel well rested because you enjoyed isoflavone- and melatonin-rich Simple Kung Pao Tofu with Broccoli for dinner, followed by some soothing and comforting Sweet and Nutty Oat Milk with Cinnamon Spice.
If youre looking for an appetizer or nourishing nibble to support solid sleep, then give these Pumpkin Seed Poppers a try.
Finally, get a nutrient-dense, sleep-supporting smorgasbord of ingredients in with this Greens and Beans Soup. Heres to sleeping soundly and peacefully!
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How Food Affects Your Sleep
Poor sleep has been linked to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high-blood pressure, depression, and more. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that the more tired you are, the more you eat during the day in attempt to perk yourself up, which can easily add up to weight gain over time. Although there’s no set menu for eating for better sleep, there are little tweaks you can make all day for a more restful night. So instead of sleeping poorly, downing caffeine every morning, reaching for sugary snacks every afternoon, and repeating the cycle day after day, try these little changes to eat and sleep more effectively.
Food To Avoid Before Bed
Dont bite off more than you can chew. While bedtime snacks can help you sleep, there are also foods that can disturb your sleep and keep you awake. Fried Food This should be no surprise. As great as chicken fingers sound for a midnight snack, fried foods take a while to digest and may give you heartburn if eaten too close to bedtime. High Fat Food Similar to fried foods, high-fat foods such as burgers and pizza also take longer to digest than other foods and could interfere with your sleep. High Sodium Food Hold back on dunking your sushi. High-sodium foods such as soy sauce and smoked meats will likely cause you to wake up feeling parched for water. Spicy Food If youre prone to heartburn, spicy foods should be avoided right at bedtime. Lying down aggravates the feeling of heartburn, making it harder to fall asleep. Tomato-based Sauces While that plate of leftover pasta might sound tempting, foods with a hearty amount of tomato have a tendency to interfere with sleep by causing acid reflux and heartburn.
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