Eating and sleeping are both basic human needs for sustenance and functioning at our best. The food we eat before bed can give us the slight nudge we need to make a good sleep great – or for all you know, your food choices may be keeping you up at night.
Here are a few foods that are best and worst for sleep.
Best for sleep
- Melatonin-rich food (such as walnuts) Don’t rely on tablets but natural sources of melatonin such as walnuts and tart cherries every day to boost the levels of the sleep-inducing hormone.
- A warm drink (such as milk) Dairy is rich in tryptophan, calcium and vitamin D, all of which are drivers of improved sleep. When you increase your core body temperature with a hot drink, your blood vessels dilate and let off heat quickly, which makes you feel comfortable and drift off to deep sleep faster. Caffeine-free teas can also do the trick. Note: When you are shopping for a mattress, test several types instead of going with the one that’s hot selling.
- High-glycemic carbs (such as white rice) Insulin spikes can actually help induce sleep, so white rice isn’t always a bad choice. Researchers believe that foods with a high glycemic index may improve tryptophan and melatonin production). Bananas and granola are also good sources to rely on.
Worst for sleep
- Alcohol (such as wine) Alcohol as per various studies is one of the biggest sleep disruptors, decreasing the amount of time you spend in the deepest sleep stages. A 2015 study says that nightcaps triggers disruptions in brain waves akin to electric shocks. It’s recommended that you give yourself an hour for each glass before you attempt to sleep after consuming alcohol.
- Fried or fatty food (cheese sandwiches) Consuming a high-fat meal would make it sit in your stomach for longer and could cause acid reflux when you lie down to sleep. In fact, your body would tend to produce dopamine when you consume heavy proteins, which would increase the level of wakefulness.
- Caffeine-rich food (such as chocolate) Caffeine is the best for staying awake, so if that’s your plan on one of your project delivery stints, that’s perfect. However, you may not realize that if you are planning on sleeping, coffee isn’t the only drink you should avoid; chocolate has more caffeine than you think, with a dark chocolate bar containing nearly as much as a full cup of coffee. In fact even mildly caffeinated teas and decaf coffee can stand between you and your sleep.
So, as we all know, food matters. And if you make the right choices, you can sleep well pals!