Mar 31, 2013

Foods that help or harm your sleep..

What you eat affects how you sleep.
If you could pick the right foods to help you get the best sleep possible, wouldn't you? And if you knew which foods would hinder your restful slumber, wouldn't you avoid them? Now's your chance to learn which foods to eat, and which to steer clear of for a good night's sleep.


Reach for Tryptophan-Rich Foods.
We've all heard of warm milk's magical ability to send us off to dreamland. Do you know why it's true? Dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey, and eggs.

Indulge Your Craving for Carbs.
Carbohydrate-rich foods complement dairy foods by increasing the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan in the blood. So a few perfect late night snacks to get you snoozing might include a bowl of cereal and milk, yogurt and crackers, or bread and cheese.

Have a Snack Before Bedtime.
If you struggle with insomnia, a little food in your stomach may help you sleep. But don't use this as an open invitation to pig out. Keep the snack small. A heavy meal will tax your digestive system, making you uncomfortable and unable to get soothing ZZZs.

Put Down the Burger and Fries!
As if you needed another reason to avoid high-fat foods, research shows that people who often eat high-fat foods not only gain weight, they also experience a disruption of their sleep cycles. A heavy meal activates digestion, which can lead to nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Beware of Hidden Caffeine.
It's no surprise that an evening cup of coffee might disrupt your sleep. Even moderate caffeine can cause sleep disturbances. But don't forget about less obvious caffeine sources, like chocolate, cola, tea, and decaffeinated coffee. For better sleep, cut all caffeine from your diet four to six hours before bedtime.

Medications May Contain Caffeine.
Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs contain caffeine, too, such as pain relievers, weight loss pills, diuretics, and cold medicines. These and other medications may have as much or even more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Check the label of nonprescription drugs or the prescription drug information sheet to see if your medicine interferes with sleep or can cause insomnia.

Beware of Heavy, Spicy Foods.
Lying down with a full belly can make you uncomfortable, since the digestive system slows down when you sleep. It can also lead to heartburn, as can spicy cuisine. Make sure to finish a heavy meal at least four hours before bedtime.

Keep Protein to a Minimum at Bedtime.
Sorry Atkins. Protein, an essential part of our daytime fare, is a poor choice for a bedtime snack. Protein-rich foods are harder to digest. So skip the high-protein snack before bedtime and opt for a glass of warm milk or some sleep-friendly carbs, like crackers.

Cut the Fluids by 8 P.M.
Yes, staying hydrated throughout the day is great for your body, but curtail your fluid intake before bed. You're sure to have interrupted sleep if you're constantly getting up to go to the bathroom.

Don't Be Fooled by a Relaxing Smoke.
Nicotine is a stimulant, with effects similar to caffeine. Avoid smoking before bedtime or if you wake up in the middle of the night.


[source:WebMD]


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