Diet and Sleep

Ever wonder why a big meal can make you feel sleepy while a sugary snack may be a quick pick-me-up? What you eat affects the way you operate – whether you’re fully awake or drowsy. It is helpful to know which foods can help keep you alert and others which may be used to fall asleep on a restless night. Also, it’s useful to be aware of which foods to avoid when you want to have a good night’s sleep.

Food and Drinks That Help You Sleep

Foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan promote sleepiness, such as nuts and seeds, honey, eggs, bananas and milk. By eating carbohydrate-rich foods, the levels of tryptophan increase in the bloodstream. So, in turn, by combining a carbohydrate and a dairy product, you boost your odds of being able to fall asleep. Certain midnight snacks you can try include cereal and milk, cheese and crackers, and toast.

Remember to keep nighttime snacks light if you struggle with falling to sleep. A heavy meal can tax your digestive system which may make you uncomfortable and increase the number of times you have to wake up to use the bathroom.

Food and Drinks that Hinder Sleep

The most common substance that hinders sleep is caffeine. Found in many beverages such as coffee, tea and soda, caffeine is also in chocolate and various medications. As a stimulant, caffeine blocks the action of hormones in the brain that make you feel sleepy. In order to get the benefits of caffeine, you should consume it in moderation, as too much at once can lead to a “crashing” effect afterward where you feel extremely sleepy.

Learn more about Caffeine and Sleep

Other drinks which can affect sleep are alcoholic beverages. Although a glass of wine may speed up the onset of sleep, it can also disrupt sleep as the alcohol metabolizes and keeps you from the deeper stages of sleep. To get the best sleep possible, it is recommended to avoid alcoholic beverages within 4-6 hours of bedtime.

In fact, it is a good policy to limit all fluid intake a few hours before bedtime to avoid having to frequently wake up to use the restroom.
Research has shown that high-fat foods can also disrupt sleep. The same is true for heavy, spicy foods, which can lead to heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. It is recommended to finish big meals about four hours before your intended bedtime.

If you are interested in finding out more about diet and sleep, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563 and one of our representatives will be happy to answer any of your questions.