Choosing Foods that Help You Sleep

For many people, a bad night's sleep can be contributed to what they ate near their bedtime. Some foods cause your body to react in a way that goes against sleep. However, some foods help your body react beneficially, causing you to be able to sleep better. It is important to study the varieties of food that impact your sleep so you know what to eat and what not to eat as a way to improve your sleeping habits.

When Tryptophan-containing foods are eaten in combination with carbohydrates, the effect is also sleep-inducing. Something about the way the acids and chemicals in these types of foods work together causes the proper activities to occur in the body and brain to slow everything down and bring sleep more easily. Carbohydrates and Tryptophan work together to relax the body, preparing it for sleep. Calcium-rich foods mixed with Tryptophan also have a similar effect.

Foods that contain Tryptophan are especially beneficial in aiding sleep, because this amino acid helps the body use the sleep hormone, serotonin. Foods that are high in this amino acid are dairy products such as milk and cheese, soy products, meat, poultry, rice, hazelnuts, peanuts, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, seafood, and whole grains.

As far as dinners that help you sleep, you want to eat something that has more laden with carbohydrates and less with protein. For example, try eating a pasta with cheese, meat with veggies, chili with beans and rice, a turkey dinner, or scrambled eggs. However, you want to control portion sizes, because over-eating can affect the digestive system which will negatively impact the ability to sleep.

If you ate dinner several hours ago but are in need of a good night-time snack before you go to be, make sure you're eating something that will not affect your ability to sleep well. You can eat ice cream (yes!), a glass of milk (especially warm), a peanut butter sandwich, sesame seeds, oatmeal cookies, or cereal with milk.

These foods are all excellent choices for helping you to sleep, but you also must stay away from foods that will keep you from sleeping. If you're having trouble sleeping, stay away from excessive caffeine especially near bed time, sugar-laden foods and drinks, and extremely heavy meals. If you must drink coffee or eat a larger meal, try to accomplish that earlier in the day so these habits will not cause you to lose sleep later on.
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