Do you occasionally have difficult falling asleep at night? While insomnia can have a variety of causes, your symptoms may be related to what you’re eating or drinking in the evening. If you’re pumping yourself full of caffeine during the day, it’s not at all surprising that you’re having trouble falling asleep at night. Keep in mind that your afternoon cup of coffee may still be exerting its stimulating effects as you prepare for sleep. Caffeine isn’t the only food ingredient that can affect the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some foods for sleep that can make it easier for you to get some rest.
Foods for sleep: Chamomile tea
Instead of reaching for the caffeinated black tea after 6:00 P.M. try sipping a cup of warm Chamomile tea as an evening refreshment. Chamomile tea is thought to have mild sedative properties. It’s also believed to have anti-spasmodic effects which makes it a good choice if you’re prone to indigestion or have irritable bowel syndrome. Chamomile tea can be purchased at most health food stores and natural food markets.
Foods for sleep: Warm milk
It’s not just an old wive’s tale. A glass of warm milk at bedtime may help to bring on sleep. Why? Milk is high in tryptophan which increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays a very important role in inducing sleep. Milk is also rich in calcium and magnesium which may reduce anxiety and help you relax and unwind. Try heating up a warm glass of milk an hour before bedtime and sip it slowly as you prepare for bed. Many people report excellent results when they enjoy a glass of warm milk within an hour of bed time.
Foods for sleep: Carbohydrate rich foods
Yes, those same carbohydrates that pack on the pounds can have a positive effect when it comes to inducing sleep. Eating a high carb snack in the evening helps to increase serotonin levels to promote more restful sleep. Instead of choosing carbs with little nutritional value, have a snack of healthy, complex carbs. Some good choices? Warm oatmeal with milk is perfect since you can benefit from the complex carbohydrates in the oats as well as the milk.
Foods for sleep: Other dairy products
Dairy products are usually a good choice as a midnight snack since they’re high in tryptophan. If you don’t like warm milk, try a cup of yogurt or a slice of cheese instead.
Avoid eating a large snack too close to bedtime, especially if you’re prone to indigestion. You may end up experiencing intestinal turmoil as soon as you lie down as your body struggles to digest the food. If you’re prone to digestive problems, have your snack several hours before bedtime. Avoid filling up on liquids, particularly alcohol, so you won’t disturb your sleep pattern by running to the bathroom.