A Good night sleep is important for maintaining good health. Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. A lack of sleep can result in decreased job performance, on-the-job accidents and even medical illnesses.
Many things can contribute to a person sleeping well. A very important factor is what a person eats, especially before going to bed. There are certain foods can help you promote better sleep at night while other foods can make you difficult to fall sleep.
Foods to avoid before attempting to sleep
1. Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. You should avoid caffeinated drinks and foods — coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks - eight hours before your planned bedtime. Drinking caffeine late in the day can make you restless and keep you from falling asleep at night.
2. Alcohol. Although many people use alcohol to help them relax before bed, excessive consumption of alcohol can make you wake up at night. Drink moderately, if at all; avoid drinking within a few hours of bedtime
3. Heavy foods or spicy foods or any foods you know that may cause heartburn, making it difficult for you to sleep at night.
4. Some foods that are rich in tyramine can also affect sleep. Tyramine actually causes the release of a substance that stimulates the brain keeping you awake. This is found in bacon, sugar, ham or tomatoes.
5. Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
6. Too much food intake. This is considered as the major culprit why many people especially those who don’t have sleeping problems before are getting a hard time sleeping all of a sudden. Professionals say that if a individual have overeaten, the tendency is that the abdomen will have a hard time digesting it. Too much food might also have an effect on the how the digestive system perform and might even lead to clinical conditions such as ulcer if done frequently.
7. Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will make you to wake up repeatedly during the night for trips to the toilet.
Foods that Can Help You Get to Sleep
1. Tryptophan rich foods. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body converts to melatonin and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters that calms the mind and helps you sleep. Hence, tryptophan is popularly regarded as a very strong natural sleep aid. Foods rich in Tryptophan are: banana, egg, honey, chicken, fish, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, Hazelnuts and turkey.
2. Carbohydrate rich foods. carbohydrates act as natural sleep aids by stimulating the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that help alleviate stress, boosts relaxation, and promotes sleep. Eating carbohydrates with tryptophan-containing foods makes this calming amino acid more available to the brain. A high carbohydrate meal stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which diverts many of your other amino acids away from your brain. As a result, tryptophan is left with little competition. Some good foods sources of Carbohydrate include brown rice, potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread.
3. Calcium-rich foods. Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. That’s why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods. Foods high in calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sardines, salmon, broccoli, tofu, egg, and calcium-fortified food
4. Vitamin B. Vitamin B6, thiamin and folic acid may improve sleep because they regulate amino acids, including tryptophan, which is necessary to produce serotonin. B vitamins may also influence the action of melatonin, a hormone-like compound believed to regulate sleep pattern. s Food rich in vitamin B rich include liver, meat, brown rice, fish, butter, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, and soybeans.
5. Herbs. There are many herbal that are known to calm the nervous system to help relaxation and induce sleep. Some herb that has been known as natural remedy for sleep include chamomile, passionflower, lavender, rosemary or valerian.