Eat light at night but never go to bed on an empty stomach, say health experts. But what should you eat for a good night’s sleep? And are there foods you should avoid before bedtime? Here are the answers to these questions:
- Dairy products: We all know the magic of a glass of warm milk before bed. Dairy foods such as milk contain tryptophan, a sleep-promoting substance. So combinations such as cereal and milk, bread and cheese, and yogurt and crackers are a good choice. Nuts, seeds honey, turkey and eggs are also rich in tryptophan.
- Foods that contain carbs: The best bedtime snack is one that has complex carbohydrates, medium-to-low protein, and some calcium. For instance, bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes help promote sleep because they contain carbs. They also have natural muscle-relaxants such as magnesium and potassium. However, avoid eating too many carbs at night if you are on a weight loss program.
Foods to Avoid at Night
- High-fat foods: Foods with high fat content disrupt the sleep cycle. They not only lead to weight gain but also activate the process of digestion, affecting the quality of sleep.
- Caffeine: As caffeine is a stimulant that keeps us awake, it’s best to avoid coffee as well as other caffeine-containing foods such as chocolate and many soft drinks. Even moderate caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, so it is better to avoid these items at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Some medications can cause insomnia, too.
- Heavy meals and protein-rich food: Protein-rich, high-fat foods are difficult to digest. Meals full of calories and fat activate digestion and can make you feel uncomfortably full, disturbing your natural sleep.
- Alcohol: While alcohol may induce sleep, experts point out that it affects sleep during the second half of the night, often leading to a reduction in overall sleep time. Drinking alcohol may also aggravate sleep-related breathing disturbances.
- Fluids: Drinking water and healthy fluids is important to stay hydrated and healthy. Take as much fluids as you can during the day, but limit intake at night as your sleep will be interrupted if you have to make frequent trips to the bathroom!
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health and well-being. It also promotes skin health and curbs inflammation. It prevents helps dark circles and puffy eyes and makes you look alert. It can benefit your heart, weight, and mind, keep you fresh during the day and even extend your life span. And making the right food choices can help you sleep well.