What you eat and drink before you go to sleep can have a direct impact on your quality of sleep. For example, foods that are not easily digestible such as high-fat cheese can you keep you awake at night, while lean proteins such as chicken and fish increase serotonin levels and help you fall asleep.
While certain foods may keep you awake at night, going to sleep on an empty stomach is never the answer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the discomfort of going to sleep on an empty stomach may actually keep you awake. Studies have also shown that going to sleep on empty stomach can decrease muscle mass.
Five Best Types of Food To Eat
- Whole grains: complex carbohydrates like those found in a low sugar, whole grain cereal increase the availability of the sleep enhancing amino acid tryptophan.
- High glycemic index foods: Foods with a high GI produce a natural spike in both blood sugar and insulin levels to increase the sleep hormones that enter your brain.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are a strong source of tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin and melatonin for a more consistent sleep-wake cycle.
- Caffeine-free herbal tea: The relaxing properties in warm herbal tea help relax nerves and muscles to help you fall asleep faster.
- Warm, easy to digest soups: warm, broth based liquids are calming and are proven to reduce cold and allergy symptoms that may keep you awake at night.
Five Worst Types of Food To Eat
- Caffeinated beverages: Caffeine from drinks such as soda or coffee can increase neuron firing in the brain, which will increase your heart rate and prevent you from falling asleep.
- Foods with more than 9g of sugar: While small, natural blood sugar spikes can help you fall asleep, foods that are too high in sugar will do the opposite. When blood sugar levels plummet after a very sweet treat, the adrenaline can disturb your sleep and even wake you up.
- Spicy foods: Not only can eating spicy food cause digestive issues that can keep you awake, it is also known to cause nightmares as well! Our bodies have to work extra hard to digest spicy foods which leads to increased brain activity.
- Alcohol: While alcohol can initially help you fall asleep, it is also proven that it can result in sleep disturbances during the second half of the nocturnal sleep period, making you less alert during the day.
- Fatty foods: High fat foods take longer to digest which can keep the body awake and alert until digestion is complete.