Eating and Drinking Your Way to Better Sleep

15th January 2017 - Sleep Now!

Eat foods that are “sleep-inducing.” Some foods are high in the sleep-inducing tryptophan:

To activate tryptophan more efficiently, favor foods that are high in complex carbohydrates but medium to low in protein. Carbs make tryptophan more available in the brain, whereas protein has the opposite effect.  Plan “meals for sleep” that load up on complex carbs and tryptophan. Try sesame seeds sprinkled on salad with tuna chunks with whole wheat crackers on the side, or a baked potato with cottage cheese.

Keep meals light. Limit the amount of food that you eat in the late afternoon and early evening, as it can affect the quality of your sleep. Lighter meals are more likely to give you a restful night, for example, whereas high-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake.  Some people find that highly-seasoned foods (e.g., hot peppers and garlic) interfere with sleep, especially heartburn-sufferers.

Drink a warm, relaxing beverage. Many people swear by drinking a cup of herbal tea or a glass of warm milk before bed, and there is research to support them. Dairy products like milk (or soy milk) are rich in tryptophan and stimulate the brain to produce sleep chemicals like serotonin and melatonin. Chamomile tea has also long been touted as an insomnia buster. In fact, recent studies have demonstrated that chamomile can reduce symptoms of anxiety and is a mild sleep aid in animal test subjects.

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  • mike h

    Which of these foods do you find easiest to add into your diet?

    • disqus_DW3xqWe89u

      Nice article. But aren’t eggs rich in proteins? Are there other protein rich foods that can help one get better sleep?

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