One person in three is affected by insomnia. Our nutrition might be one of the reasons for sleepless nights – according to nutritionists there are a few foods that aid sleep and that we should eat at dinner, and other foods we should absolutely avoid if we don’t want to run the risk to spend one more sleepless night.
“He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Clean Well Lighted Place
It’s true. Many of us have experienced a few sleepless nights at some point of our life.
Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.
Insomnia should never be ignored as it could lead to decreased performance at work or at school, fatigue, low levels of energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disorders etc.
The food is a great way to prevent insomnia and improve sleep quality.
5 foods that aid sleep
1 – Bananas
Bananas are rich in magnesium, which has myorelaxant properties. What is more, bananas boost the production of both serotonin and melatonin.
Did you know that: according to a recent study carried out by Simba Sleep, on average an adult individual sleeps 6 hours and 28 mins a night, and misses 6 hours and 10 mins sleep a week?
2 – Honey
A spoonful of honey is healthy because it contains glucose, which signals our brain to “switch off” orexin, also known as hypocretin, a brain chemical which regulates both sleep-wake rhythm and appetite, by creating a state of alert. This is the reason why orexin is also known as the “wake” hormone.
Did you know that: stormy thoughts are the most common reason for sleepless nights – according to research 53% of people can’t calm the mind down when they switch the lights off?
Almonds contain tryptophan and magnesium, both helpful in order to relax muscles and nerves and to normalize the heartbeat. Almonds also contain zinc – very helpful in maintaining a balanced mood.
4 – Oats
Oats boost the nervous system and are a valuable help for all those who are stressed out because of work. Oats contain large amounts of minerals, vitamins and zinc.
5 – Turkey
It is advisable to eat turkey at dinner, as it is easily digested and contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps fall asleep faster.
Did you know that: chamomile herbal tea and a mug of hot milk are two of the most well-known sleep-friendly remedies?
There are some foods that could make it more difficult to fall asleep and to trigger insomnia.
5 foods to absolutely avoid before going to bed
1 – Alcohol
A glass of red wine at dinner indices a great feeling of relaxation and helps us forget about daily stress. Alcohol intake should be limited though, because its abuse may cause sleep disorders.
2 – Spicy foods
Spicy and hot foods may cause indigestion. What is more capsaicin (found in large quantities in chili, jalapeño and cayenne peppers) might affect sleep negatively, causing changes to body temperature.
3 – Fatty foods
It is difficult to digest fatty foods. Our stomach is forced to produce excess gastric secretions, which may cause gastric reflux and affect sleep negatively. Foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken (fast food), ice-cream and fatty cheese are highly unadvisable.
4 – Coffee
Coffee contains large amounts of caffeine, whose stimulating properties may last even up to 10 hours. Even during the day, drinking too much coffee may make you feel agitated. It is advisable to abstain from coffee after 4 p.m.
5 – Cheese
Seasoned cheese is packed with large amounts of tyramine – an amino acid which triggers the orexin release.
Not only the right foods, but also some habits may help prevent insomnia.
a – never lay down right after dining;
b – switch off computers and smartphones at least one hour before going to bed;
c – If possible, have a short walk after dinner- fresh air boosts both good mood and sleep quality.
Thank you for reading Insomnia – 5 foods to avoid and 5 foods that aid sleep, and if you find this article useful, please comment below and share it so other people can benefit from it as well!