It’s widely known that coffee can make it really difficult to fall asleep, especially if you brew your last cup in the evening. But did you know that the following foods may also make it harder to fall asleep?
- Tea, cola, hot chocolate, or energy drinks – take your last daily dose of caffeine in the early afternoon to increase your chances of falling asleep at your normal nightly bedtime.
- Alcohol – a drink or two in the early evening may actually help you to fall asleep quickly, but more than that can make it very difficult to doze off. Even a small amount of alcohol can disturb your rest once you fall asleep by causing headache, night sweats, or even nightmares.
- Dark chocolate can sometimes rev you up to the point where you can’t unwind and sleep. It’s high in both sugar and caffeine. This combo may even bring on heart palpitations in susceptible individuals.
- Spicy foods, especially if they are not part of your normal daily diet.
- Foods that are high in fiber, protein, and fat can take too long to digest and keep you awake. In large quantities they may even cause a harmful acid reflux that can damage your esophagus.
So are there any foods that help promote a good night’s rest? Here are some excellent sleep-enhancing choices for an evening snack.
- Foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan are well known for promoting sleep. Snack on nuts and seeds, bananas drizzled with honey, and even eggs in the evening.
- Replace your after dinner coffee habit with a cup of warm milk with honey.
- Carbs and dairy are your best choices for an evening snack. Make a plate of cheese and crackers or have a little yogurt and fruit.
Sometimes everyday stresses can make it hard to sleep even if we adhere to these dietary guidelines. Try these natural remedies and supplements to boost the odds that you will get a good night’s rest:
- Valerian is the best known herbal treatment for insomnia. It is available in pill form or as a tea. Other helpful sleep-inducing herbs include lemon balm, chamomile and hops. Look for teas that contain these herbs for a flavorful and calming bedtime drink.
- Melatonin supplements can help regulate your sleep wake cycle. This is especially useful if you have been working a different shift or if you are trying to beat jet lag.
- Magnesium offers multiple health benefits in addition to supporting a good night’s sleep. It is essential to nerve and muscle function, keeps the heart beating steadily, regulates blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and strengthens bone tissue.
- Our list of supplements for relaxation and anxiety relief.
Remember, timing is key when it comes to sleep robbing foods as well as those that induce a better night’s sleep. Your last heavy meal should be 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Your after dinner choices of sleep enhancing food and drink should be timed one to two hours before you get ready for bed.