The Best and Worst Foods for Sleep
Need better sleep? Some of the foods and beverages you think help you get a good night’s rest are actually keeping you awake and vice versa. Here a some foods to try and some to avoid.
PROTEIN promotes sleep and fights acid reflux. Try a few slices of lean meat or cheese a hardboiled egg, or some fresh fruit and cottage cheese. Almonds not only are good source of protein, they also contain the muscle-relaxing power of magnesium.
SWEET POTATOES not only provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain that muscle-relaxant potassium. Other good sources of potassium include regular potatoes (baked and keep the skin on), lima beans, and papaya.
BANANAS are an all around good food. Potassium and magnesium they provide, are natural muscle relaxants. They also have tryptophan, the infamous sleep-inducing amino acid in turkey that turns in serotonin, which promote relaxation and melatonin, which promotes sleepiness.
CHERRIES are a natural source of melatoin. An alternative if not available, are dried cherries or fresh cherry juice. Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin.
OATMEAL is not just for breakfast. It has many sleep promoting nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. But don’t add too much sweetener, as this could counteract the sleeptime ingredients.
GREEN TEA contains theanine, which is a sleep promoter. Any decaf tea variety, especially a mild herbal flavor is relaxing and soothing.
MILK It does the body good. Not only does it have tryptophan, but calcium which regulates melatonin production. Add a teaspoon of honey for a bit of extra sweetness.
HIGH FAT MEAL may make you feel tired initially, but research suggests those who have heavy meals in the evening get less sleep than those who don’t. These meals can also slow down digestion and cause acid reflux.
CHOCOLATE contains not only calories, but caffeine, especially dark chocolate. A 1.55-ounce Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, for instance, contains about the same amount of caffeine as three cups of decaffeinated coffee. Yes, decaf coffee contains about 12 milligrams of caffeine.
COFFEE contains caffeine, which is a central nervous stimulant. Translation: Drinking Java too close to bedtime will keep you up at night.
ALCOHOL: so you know caffine is a no no before, but doesn’t’ alcohol make you tired? It does at first but if affect the quality of your sleep. So you make wake up the next day not as rested.
ENERGY DRINKS: Yup, the culprit here again is caffeine, and it’s present in spades. An eight-ounce Red Bull energy drink contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine or equivalent to a one-ounce Starbucks espresso. Five-Hour Energy packs 200 milligrams of caffeine into just two ounces, which is equivalent to 16 ounces of regular coffee.
Mountain Dew MDX along with jolt Cola and Vault contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving. Additionally, typical soda drinks contain citrus as well as sodium benzoate and other chemicals which can aggravate the gastrointestinal tract and promote acid reflux.