What you eat, and drink, just before bed affects the quality of your sleep.
Not surprisingly, unhealthy foods with loads of refined sugar are bad for your sleep. They will keep you awake at night and leave you feeling more tired during the day.
So watch what you have for dessert.
Fatty foods are also bad for your sleep. They increase acid production in the stomach, making it likely that heartburn will disrupt your sleep.
It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages and very spicy foods if you want to sleep well.
What should you eat then?
Best foods to eat before bed
Here are some great suggestions.
1. Dairy products
Low-fat yogurt, cheese and milk contain Tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin and then into the sleep hormone melatonin. This helps you fall asleep quicker.
The presence of calcium in dairy products is also a big sleep booster.
Calcium helps the brain make use of Tryptophan, further increasing levels of melatonin in the body.
2. Bananas, dark leafy greens and nuts & seeds
Another mineral that has been show to improve sleep quality is magnesium. Lack of adequate magnesium in the diet causes or worsens insomnia.
Bananas are great before bed because they contain both calcium and magnesium.
Dark leafy greens and nuts are also excellent sources of magnesium. Other good sources include whole grains, avocado, soybeans and fish.
3. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are not just good for their supply of crucial vitamins and nutrients. They also contain the amino acid Tryptophan.
Avocado, peaches, apples, bananas and cherries are all good sources of Tryptophan.
Turkey and chicken also contain plenty of Tryptophan. To get the best out of them, eat them along with a carbohydrate.
This ensures that amino acid reaches the brain where it can make sleep-inducing serotonin.
Fish is high in Tryptophan and magnesium, two things that promote quick and deep sleep.
Some of the best types of fish include salmon, halibut and mackerel.
6. Herbal drinks
Herbal teas like passion, chamomile, peppermint and valerian are great before bed. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that help you relax and fall asleep faster.
What to avoid
Caffeine is bad for sleep. You have to watch what you eat and drink as this stimulant can show up in unexpected places.
In addition to coffee, it’s also in energy drinks, hot cocoa, decaf coffee (though it’s very little. Might only affect you if you are highly sensitive to caffeine), dark chocolate, coffee/chocolate flavoured ice cream and some flavours of frozen yogurt.
Alcohol is also a big no-no. It might help you relax and fall asleep quicker but it will disrupt your sleep later in the night, leaving you awake and restless.
Sugar, as I mentioned, is also bad for sleep. Too much of it in form of sugary foods and drinks can create an energy boost, making it difficult to fall asleep.
It also causes restless sleep.
As for fatty and spicy foods, the main problem is that they cause heartburn, which keeps you from sleeping properly.
If you have to eat foods high in fat or with hot spices, do so well before bedtime.