Eat your way to better sleep
When your sleep is constantly disrupted or you are simply unable to fall asleep with ease, the temptation to turn to sleeping pills is likely to be high. And yet, sleeping pills do not retrain you to sleep properly independent of them and they tend to leave many people feeling unrefreshed in the morning and sometimes they can even lead to addiction if relied upon too often, for too long.
So, can you go to sleep without taking pills? There are numerous solutions using food (and drink) that can be put to good use in helping you get better sleep. Here is how to be kind to your tummy so it will leave you alone when you want to rest!
Avoid food that brings indigestion. What causes indigestion in one person may not bring it on in another, so the possible list of foods here could be endless. The point is to know your own causes of indigestion and to manage these. Some of the more common causes of indigestion include:
Any food you have an intolerance for (foods you are allergic to should not be consumed at all) – common intolerance being gluten, dairy, and chocolate or sugar;
Rich meals just before bedtime. When you don’t give your body adequate time to break down the food and you lie down, indigestion can easily follow. Stop eating rich food at least 5 hours prior to bedtime. A light and healthy diet not only keeps down your weight but also reduces the risk of sleep apnea.
Onions, beans, and peppers can bring on indigestion in susceptible people. Choose food that stabilizes your energy. These are foods that ensure no highs and crashes but that keep you at a relatively even energy level throughout the day. Having even energy levels stops irritability, fatigue, stress, and exhaustion; it also improves mood and eases the pathway to a better night’s sleep because you feel calmer, more rested, and balanced. Energy-stabilizing foods include:
Lean meat, cheese, natural yogurt, eggs, fish, whole wheat bread, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. are steady sources of protein that will give you energy.
Chromium will help your body to overcome low blood sugar levels. It is found in foods such as shellfish, baked beans, and cheese.
Choose this over sugary snacks. You get the benefit of the fiber, the nutrients, and the slow-release energy from fresh fruit so avoid substituting it with juice, dried fruit, or fruit-based baked goods. Apples and pears are calming to the digestive system.
It is recommended that you consume a main meal about four hours prior to bedtime that consists of complex carbohydrates and foods rich in tryptophan.
If you are hungry for a snack before bedtime, ensure that there is at least an hour between eating it and bedtime, to allow for proper digestion. Some bedtime snacks you could consider include:
Nuts, Cheese and crackers,
Cereal with milk. Apple, pie with ice cream (sugar-reduced), Oatmeal raisin cookies (sugar-reduced), Banana slices on whole wheat toast, Peanut butter sandwich.