Eat Right, Sleep Tight

Eat Right, Sleep Tight

Eating the right foods, especially towards the end of your day at your evening meal can help you sleep more soundly and restfully. If you eat a well balanced diet containing sleep inducing ingredients, you will have a greater chance for a more restful sleep.

Two specific nutrients are responsible for promoting better sleep. Magnesium is found mainly in meats, fish, seafood, dairy products and green vegetables. B-vitamins are found mainly in potatoes, beans, whole grains, broccoli, meats and bananas.

By eating complex carbohydrate-rich foods at the evening meal, such as whole grains and complex starches, you encourage the production of serotonin which has a calming effect on the brain, reduces depression and is important in regulating the brain’s wake/sleep cycle. Carbohydrate rich foods you can include in your evening meal include potatoes, whole grain bread, whole wheat past and brown rice.

Folic Acid, thiamine and Vitamin B6 are B vitamins that help to improve the quality of your sleep. They regulate certain amino acids, particularly tryptophan which is necessary in serotonin production. You can add tryptophan-rich foods along with foods rich in B vitamins to further improve your sleep. Foods rich in Vitamin B include whole grains, lean red meat and beans. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, eggs, fruit, chicken, brown rice, fish, nuts, veggies, beef, chicken, milk and cheese.

Choosing herbal teas such as chamomile, valerian, rosemary or passionflower in the evening can soothe and relax you so you are ready to sleep when it is bedtime.

Calcium, magnesium and zinc are the foundation minerals for awesome sleep. They affect how nerves in the body respond in addition to how muscles relax and contract. Tense muscles don’t lend themselves to relaxation prior to sleep so making sure you have adequate amounts of minerals in your diet is important. Zinc and magnesium may help to reduce night-time leg cramps and even restless leg syndrome which makes it difficult to get comfortable and settle in for sleep. A deficiency of magnesium can cause anxiety which can further contribute to poor sleep, which adds to magnesium depletion. Mineral rich foods include canned salmon with the bones, green leafy vegetables, dried beans, peas, sardines and nuts.

There are foods that can help you sleep and there are foods that will disrupt your sleep. Anything containing caffeine, like coffee, cola beverages, certain teas and chocolate can help keep you awake. Spicy and hotly flavored foods can perk you up and keep you awake. Large heavy meals late in the evening are not good for you or your sleep patterns. Alcohol can also stimulate your wake cycles making it difficult to sleep. Another group of foods to avoid later in the day are fatty and fried foods. They can all increase your wakefulness, making it harder to relax and quiet down.

By letting food take you to that sleepy place, you have a better chance of improving your sleep by being aware of what to eat and what to avoid. Encouraging relaxation inducing foods improves your rest and helps you function better during the day. Eat right to improve your chances of sleeping tight.