Many factors come into play when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. Here you’ll find a list of food and drinks that can help you sleep through the night.
Getting enough quality sleep each night is essential for our overall health and well-being, yet many of us are not getting nearly enough. In fact, some 51% of adults worldwide report not sleeping enough per night, and that’s a big deal. Sleep is our body’s reset process that helps balance our hormones and mood, restore energy levels, process memories and more. Not getting enough affects everything from our immune system, mental health and heart health, to memory and cognitive function, and it can also increase the risk for anxiety and depression. While there are many factors that come into play when it comes to quality sleep, like sleep environment, exercise, avoiding electronic devices, alleviating stress and anxiety, etc, there is a big one you might not have taken into account: that what you eat affects how you sleep. The foods you eat both during the day as well as before bed can both help or hinder your overall sleep quality. Ready to use food to help you sleep? Let’s dive into a list of the best foods and drinks to eat (or avoid) for a better night’s rest.
Foods that help you sleep through the night
A snack before bedtime is OK
You may have heard that you need to cut off all eating a few hours before bedtime. But this isn’t a one size fits all approach. Some of us benefit from having a bit of food in our stomachs to help fall asleep and stay asleep. The keyword is small though, as eating a heavy meal right before bedtime makes your digestive system work overtime and can actually hinder your sleep process.
Think about a little tryptophan knock out
Tryptophan is a sleep-promoting amino acid found in foods like milk (and other dairy products), chocolate, nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and more. These foods help stimulate the production of melatonin, an important hormone for regulating sleep. Reach for one of these items as your pre-bedtime snack.
Steer clear of caffeine
It might seem obvious to watch your caffeine intake if you’re trying to get to sleep, but many of us fail to realize exactly how far in advance we should curb the caffeine and the many hidden sources of it. That evening cup of green tea might be the culprit, or even some over-the-counter medications. For a better night’s sleep, try cutting out any caffeine by 3 pm and read all medication labels carefully.
Reach for chamomile tea
Not all tea is created equal and while green tea could keep you up, chamomile might help do the opposite. Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that promote sleepiness, reduce anxiety and may even boost your immune system. Toss in a spoonful of honey for extra relaxation and sleep quality.
Opt for carbs
It might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out! Carbohydrate-rich foods spike our bodies' blood sugar levels, which triggers the production of insulin to bring them back down. This is the reason for a burst of energy following a carb-loading session and that familiar crash shortly afterward. While not so useful during the workday, it can be used to our benefit at bedtime. A late-night bowl of cereal and milk, cheese and crackers, toast and butter or oatmeal will do the trick.
Go easy on the alcohol
It may seem to help you fall asleep faster, but unfortunately alcohol doesn’t help you sleep better, as it can lead to night sweats, tossing and turning and even nightmares. Alcohol affects the production of sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and can block REM sleep (the deep, most restorative type of sleep). Try cutting off alcohol around 4 hours before bedtime and spacing out drinks with glasses of water for the best results.
Sleep is an essential, and sometimes neglected, factor of our overall health and wellness. Your sleep hygiene is important to enabling your body to repair and reset itself to be ready for another day. Taking into account the foods and drinks you eat in the hours before bedtime can help you get a better night’s sleep, use this list of foods to help you sleep the next time you need to clock in a few more hours! For other ways to help promote a deeper night’s sleep, check out our collection of OSTRICHPILLOW Products. From eye masks to neck pillows, they can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
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