The food that we consume before going to bed largely determines the quality of our sleep. Very often the reason we can`t sleep might be closely related to our diet and the bedtime food mistakes we might make. We should not only pay attention to our diet when it comes to weight but also when it comes to healthy sleep.
We have all heard the old proverbial saying “You are what you eat” and believe me it is not far from reality. Healthy eating is the key to well-being and quality sleep. If you struggle with sleepless nights, read these five useful tips that will optimize your diet, and help you sleep better.
Add Melatonin Rich Food to Your Diet
It is a well-known fact that the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables provides nutrients vital for the healthy maintenance of our bodies. But little do we know that the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables can improve our sleep quality.
Melatonin is a hormone, and it is naturally produced in our bodies. This hormone is vital for regulating our sleep-wake cycles. Many fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, and oranges are naturally rich in melatonin. Melatonin benefits cover several aspects of sleep.
Many studies have shown that melatonin lengthens REM sleep, and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Rolled oats, seeds, and nuts are also a great source for melatonin boost, and likewise, they boost your energy levels.
Avoid Spicy Food Before Bed
It is not only important what we eat, but also when we eat. The consumption of spicy food before sleep negatively affects the quality of our sleep, and thus results in daytime fatigue.
Research in Australia showed the relationship between spicy food and sleep. The participants in this research who ate spicy food with mustard and Tabasco had a noticeable shift in their sleep patterns. Capsaicin is a compound found in spicy food that raises body temperature and thus disturbs sleep.
In contrast to the participants who ate spicy food before sleep, the participants who didn`t eat spicy food spent more time in deep sleep and it didn`t take them long to fall asleep. Cool Jams are moisture-wicking pajamas that can help you stay cool at night and beat the summer heat.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. You would like to avoid these close to bedtime, as their consumption may disrupt your sleep.
Additionally, caffeine is a melatonin suppressant, and decreased secretion of melatonin means decreased sleep quality. Studies show that the half-life of caffeine in healthy individuals is about 6-8 hours. So it`s advisable to have your last cup of coffee by 2 pm. To still maintain a ritual and treat yourself with a comforting drink in the afternoon you can try Pique`s caffeine-free teas.
Contrary to caffeine, alcohol is believed to be the most popular sleep aid in the USA. Many Americans consume alcohol before bedtime to help them fall asleep, but little do they know that alcohol doesn’t help them get quality sleep. Alcohol interferes with quality sleep for two main reasons.
First, it acts as a diuretic, which means that your sleep will be interrupted many times during the night. These interruptions mean that you are unlikely to reach REM sleep which is the final stage of sleep responsible for mood regulation and memory retention.
Limit High Fat Foods
We have already mentioned that what we eat affects our sleep. Many people struggle to get enough high-quality sleep because their diet is mainly based on foods that are high in fat such as burgers, potato chips, margarine, etc. High-fat diets lead to more fragmented sleep and sluggishness.
Balance Is Key
A balanced diet is key when it comes to your health and quality sleep time. We should try not to eat a full meal right before bedtime, but feeling starved before bedtime it`s also not a good idea.
Studies show that it takes about three hours for our stomach to process food, so ideally we shouldn`t consume food at least 3 hours before going to bed. Ghrelin is an important hormone produced by the stomach.
When we are hungry our stomach releases ghrelin which sends signals to our brain that we are hungry. So this hormone is closely connected to shorter sleep duration, as it increases the likelihood that you will wake up during the night and go get some snacks.