There are so many things that can disrupt your sleep — from stress about work deadlines to the temperature of the room —you find yourself tossing and turning after a late night with friends or an indulgent meal at home, you may need to reevaluate your eating habits. Read on for what to avoid and then some suggested foods to try for better sleep.
Eating too close to bedtime can be especially problematic if you're prone to heartburn. Laying horizontally after a meal can allow stomach acid to travel back up the esophagus, leading to a bitter taste in the mouth or burning in the chest.
TYPES OF FOOD
Spicy and acidic foods like tomatoes, tomato sauce, and citrus fruits may be problematic, and chocolate may also worsen reflux. Also, foods and beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soda, should be avoided as well. Caffeine blocks a chemical that helps make you sleepy, and it's also a diuretic, which can cause you to make a trip to the bathroom during the night. Try cutting yourself off from caffeine before lunchtime.
Eating a large meal right before bedtime can also affect your ability to sleep. If your stomach feels overly full and you can feel the contents churning, this can cause discomfort and prevent you from falling asleep. A high-protein or high-fat meal is more difficult to digest and should be avoided before bed.
So what should you eat if you’re hungry and can’t sleep? Melatonin! Melatonin is the chemical that makes us sleepy at night. Light — either from the sun or the blue light from your laptop — suppresses melatonin. That means you should power down your devices in the evening, but supplementing with melatonin can also help improve sleep and combat insomnia. That said, taking it in the over-the-counter form you find in pharmacies may not be safe, particularly over the long-term. Instead, try one of these melatonin-packed foods:
Sleep is both one of the easiest activities and potentially frustrating things our bodies do. Research is still unclear on so many aspects of our sleep. Everybody sleeps differently. With time focusing on your body and brain connection, you will learn what works for your body.
Women's Health & Fitness Specialist.