Health - Diet & Nutrition
By: - at June 17, 2013

Best Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Very Sleepy GuyWhat You're Eating or Drinking May be Affecting Your Ability to Sleep
If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, you may be eating the wrong foods before you turn in. Or, you may be taking certain medications that are keeping you from obtaining the rest you need.

Sleep-Inducing Foods
Milk will help you beat insomnia as it contains the substance tryptophan, an amino acid that is also found in such foods as eggs, yogurt, oats, fish, poultry, sunflower seeds, bananas, and peanuts. Foods containing complex carbohydrates also help induce sleep when paired with dairy. So a good snack at night might be crackers and yogurt or cereal and milk, as long as the fare is light.

Eat complex carbs, such as whole wheat crackers versus unhealthy refined carbs like pretzels or potato chips. Refined carbs or processed foods often act to disrupt sleep because they have properties that stimulate the nervous system rather than relax it.

The following video highlights foods that are helpful in promoting sleep:

Foods or Beverages to Avoid in the Evening and at Night
Consuming foods that are high in fat, such as a burger and fries, should be avoided if you want to get a good night's rest too. Spicy foods can cause sleep problems as well. As the digestive system slows when you're asleep, eating this type of cuisine can wreak havoc on your system. That's because the foods don't digest as easily as carbs. Neither do protein foods. So, it's especially important to be discerning about what you ingest at night or before you go to bed.

In addition, drinking a nightcap before you go to sleep is not a good idea. While alcohol will cause you to fall asleep quickly, the sleep you sleep is typically not the restful kind. So, avoid drinking alcohol about six hours before you turn in for the day.

Don't Drink Coffee or Consume Substances Containing the Stimulant
a cup of coffeeAlso, be careful about caffeine. That just doesn’t mean to stop drinking coffee before bedtime either. Caffeine can be found in such beverages or substances as tea, cola, chocolate and even a decaffeinated brew.

Chocolate's Effects on Sleep
While chocolate contains sleep-inducing tryptophan, it also contains the stimulants of caffeine and theobromine. The theobromine in chocolate is considered to be a moderate pick-me-up and acts much the same as caffeine on one's psyche, but with less stimulating effects.

Medicines That Can Cause Sleep Difficulties
Some medications can contain caffeine as well, including certain dietary supplements, cold or allergy medicines, diuretics, and pain reliever medicines. In fact, some medicines can contain more caffeine than coffee, and therefore are especially taboo to take before you go to sleep.

Over-the-Counter Decongestants: What to Take to Prevent Restlessness
Also, over-the-counter decongestants, such pseudoephedrine (known by its trademarked name of Sudafed) can cause sleeplessness as well. If you must unstop your nose, opt for decongestants that are free of the ingredient, such as phenylephedrine or oxymetazoline (commercially known as Afrin).If you’re taking any medicines that can cause sleeplessness, try to avoid taking them around five hours before your intended bedtime.

Get into the Habit of Going to Bed at the Same Time Each Day
Ten PM Digital Clock timeBeside avoiding certain foods, beverages, or medications before you go to bed at night, it's also good to develop a regular schedule for sleep. Going to bed each night and waking up at the same time each day is a good habit to have. A regular sleep rhythm signals the body's sleep mechanisms and maintains its internal clock.

Keep Your Sleeping Area Distraction-Free
Also, keep your environment free of diversions. That means watching TV, reading books, or eating outside the confines of your sleeping area. Keep the room comfortably ventilated and cool so you'll feel relaxed when your head meets the pillow. Make sure that the windows are covered to keep out any distracting light. The place where you sleep should be restful and relaxing, not a spot where you spend your time tossing and turning during the night. Keep that in mind and you'll start realizing the benefits of a good night's sleep. Sleep is so important and without maintaining good sleep habits all sorts of health problems can develop ranging from anxiety to higher blood pressure. Without sleep the body cannot repair itself, and the mind cannot be fresh.





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