World Food Day: Foods to help you sleep. October 16 2019
Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you tired and hungry? Are you so tired you can’t eat? Are you so hungry you can’t sleep? Do you dream about food because you’re so hungry and you wake up to find yourself chewing on your pillow? …No? That last one just me? Ok then…
It’s not a good to go to sleep hungry; it’s also not a good to eat large meals before bed. Here are some snacks that might help you sleep. Emphasis on “might,” we’re not saying that two minutes after eating a banana you’ll be fast asleep, no. We’re saying these snacks have the chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones that work together to promote a good night’s sleep.
Take bananas for an example. Bananas are high in potassium, and potassium helps KEEP you asleep. It also has tryptophan in it. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can’t produce it, that is needed for the normal growth in infants, and for nitrogen balance in adults. It is also a natural sedative that helps your body make a relaxing mood hormone named serotonin which helps your body make melatonin which is a hormone that controls your sleep cycles. Now remember that! Tryptophan will come up a lot in this blog.
Poultry like chicken and turkey also has tryptophan. We’re not saying you should eat an entire chicken dinner before bed, but it does explain why everybody needs to take a nap after thanksgiving dinner. A good snack would be half a turkey sandwich made with whole grain bread. Whole grains actually encourage insulin production that results in even more tryptophan activity in the brain. And if you’re having a Thanksgiving craving, some low-sugar cranberry sauce would go perfect on that half sandwich.
Even the foods you eat for dinner can help you get a head start on your sleep, like fish. Fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut are packed to the gills (badum tish) with vitamin B6 which makes melatonin which is normally triggered by being in the dark, so your brain can have a head start on lights out. Do you not like fish? Understandable, do you like breakfast? Believe it or not, eggs have tryptophan in them. One of the most popular and well known breakfast foods makes you sleepy. YOUR LIFE IS A LIE!
Whole grain also has magnesium in it which helps you stay asleep. A small bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk would be a great snack before bed, because calcium also has magnesium and tryptophan in it. A small glass of warm milk with a little bit of honey in it is a great snack before bed especially since the glucose in honey lowers your levels of orexin which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you alert. It’s amazing how many foods that help you sleep go so well together with other foods that helps you sleep. Like bananas and nuts.
Bananas, as we mentioned before, has tryptophan in it, it also has magnesium, same with nuts like almonds, walnuts, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. So half a banana and a hand full of almonds is a nice, filling, sleep inducing snack right before bed. A lot of fruits are good before bed, like kiwis, which are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, and tart cherries which have melatonin.
|(2019). Set yourself up for sound slumber with these calming foods and beverages. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/foods-for-sleep/||Stevenson, A. (2019). TOP 10 FOODS THAT (MIGHT) HELP YOU SLEEP Retrieved from https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/top-10-foods-help-sleep/|
|Elliott, B. (2017, October 23). The 9 Best Foods to Eat Before Bed Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-to-help-you-sleep||(2019, October 2). Tryptophan Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002332.htm|