We all wish to enjoy a good night rest, to give our body and brain time to regenerate for the challenges of the next day. But various factors influence our repose and food is one of them. What and when we eat before bedtime may have a severe impact on our sleep quality.
I believe you already know about the foods to avoid at dinners, such as large steaks, fat dishes and anything that contains stimulants (including coffee and alcohol). But do you know which foods can help us achieve the desired rest? Their secret is simple: they hold or help produce particular substances known as sleep-regulating hormones (melatonin and serotonin) or antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium, which is certified to boost sleep.
Let me introduce some of these magical foods to you – and I hope you will consider them the next time you think about what you should eat before bedtime:
Cherries are excellent because they contain melatonin. This chemical helps to control our body’s internal clock, cherries are best consumed raw, but you could also try them in a delicious, light tart.
Our body digests white rice slowly, thus releasing glucose progressively into the bloodstream. I came across a study which concluded that people who’d consumed white rice four hours before bedtime fell asleep sooner than the ones who’d eaten meat.
They are referred to as “the sleeper’s dream” because they provide plenty of sleep-promoting carbohydrates. Besides, they contain potassium, which is a muscle-relaxant. Regular potatoes are good as well (mainly if baked in their skin), but not as the garnish for a heavy dish.
Turkey meat contains tryptophan, an amino-acid known to make people doze off; that happens because of the production of melatonin. But turkey is also delicious and nutritious, high in protein and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
I love this fruit; it’s one of my favorite foods! It is nutritious, tasty, low-calorie and it contains minerals and potassium.Eating kiwis will benefit your digestion and lower your cholesterol. But eating them before bedtime may be one of the best decisions you could make: their serotonin content and the antioxidants they provide are considered responsible for boosting sleep.
Almonds and walnuts
Almonds are an excellent source of nutrients, but also of melatonin, which means they help induce sleep. Walnuts provide over 19 vitamins and minerals, in addition to fibers and are particularly rich in magnesium. Thus, besides improving our health, they also help us get a peaceful rest. Just make sure you don’t eat too many of them: a handful of them would do.
Who doesn’t love a glass of warm milk before bedtime? It reminds us of those happy childhood times! Also, because it contains tryptophan, it seems to have a powerful effect on us and to make it easier for us to sleep.
Other awesome foods
But those aren’t the only foods recommended to be consumed before going to sleep. According to nutritionists, we could enjoy, for instance, a banana (which has a high level of magnesium). Or we could go for oatmeal (high on carbs and a source of melatonin) or cottage cheese (which contains a milk protein called casein that sustains overnight muscle repair). Pumpkin seeds, whole grains, dark leafy greens, and avocados are also excellent options.
But watch your timing
In a recent debate I moderated on this particular topic, Natasha from Try Mattress said: “It’s essential that we keep in mind to eat the sleep-enhancing foods at least 2 – 3 hours before bedtime! Only by doing so we can enjoy the benefits they provide for our rest”. And I couldn’t agree more: remember that if you eat just minutes before trying to put yourself to sleep, these foods (like many others!) could cause digestive issues and insomnia.
About the author
Hello! My name is Willy Carrara, and I promote healthy living. I believe we have the power to make the right choices to change our lives for the better.