Sleeping troubles can lead to you feeling jaded and lethargic which can affect productivity at work and at home. If the troubles are chronic, it may have something to do with your diet. Here are some things to try, and things to avoid, if you’re having trouble sleeping.
What to Try
- Drinking a glass of warm milk before bed can help you sleep better. Dairy products are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin.
- Eating a carbohydrate-rich snack, like a few oatcakes or a bowl of cereal, an hour before going to bed stimulates the release of insulin. This helps to clear amino acids that compete with tryptophan from the bloodstream, allowing more of this sleep-inducing amino acid to enter the brain.
- Herbal teas, such as chamomile, passionflower tea and valerian, have a sedative effect (Mayo Clinic, 2014).
What to Avoid
- Say no to an after-dinner espresso or late night coffee. The stimulant effect of caffeine reaches its peak one to four hours after it’s consumed, but some people can feel its effects up to 12 hours later. Some over-the-counter cold and headache remedies are also high in caffeine.
- A large late evening meal interferes with sleep, as your body is busy digesting. You may also suffer from heartburn or indigestion. Try to eat at least three hours before going to bed.
- Avoid foods such as pork, cheese, chocolate, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and wine near bedtime as they are rich in an amino acid tryamine, which the body converts to noradrenaline, a brain stimulant (Mayo Clinic, 2014).
Mayo Clinic. (2014). Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379