Have you ever been told to avoid eating cheese before going to
bed? Many believe that this dairy treat may give us bad dreams,
alongside many other myths surrounding what we should and shouldn't
eat before bed for a better nights sleep. Myths aside, recent
studies have shown that we actually just need a good balance of the
naturally produced sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin
in our system.
How do you ensure that serotonin and melatonin are present in your
system though? The answer is by keeping on top of your vitamin B6
and tryptophan intake. These are needed to boost the hormone levels
and they are found in more foods than you realise.
Chicken, cheese, tofu, tuna, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk are some
of the main foods you eat daily which are naturally keeping your
serotonin and melatonin levels up. Meaning that drinking a glass of
milk before going to bed can help to induce sleep.
Other sleep-inducing foods include oats and lettuce, although
granted, oats are usually a food best left to enjoy in the
Always avoid skipping breakfast, if you can, as this is vital to
stabilising your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.
Helping you to produce the melatonin, eating a balanced breakfast
can prepare your body not only for the day ahead, but will also
enable you to sleep later on. Try and include a source of protein
such as a nut butter on your toast, or toss a few ground almonds on
your porridge to really boost your breakfast!
But now you know what's good to eat to get a good
nights sleep, what food do you need to avoid to ensure you have
a good rest?
Caffeine and alcohol are the main culprits for disrupting your
slumber as they are stimulants. Caffeine has a direct impact on
reducing sleep quality. The half-life of caffeine is approximately
5hours. This means that it can take up to 10 hours to completely
remove all of the caffeine from your body if you drink a cup of tea
or coffee. If you are having problems sleeping or are waking up
feeling tired no matter how much sleep you get, minimise caffeine
and increase your fluid intake by drinking more water, herbal teas
and dilute fruit juices.
Why not try some of these
tasty snacks to help you drift off?
- Nut butter and oat cakes
- Plain Greek yogurt (full fat) and fresh fruit
- Unsweetened popcorn (2 to 3 cups) and some cubes of cheese
- A small veggie omelette with whole-grain toast
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Whole-grain pitta bread and hummus
- Turkey and tomato sandwich
- Banana or apple with a spread of almond or cashew butter