What 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.
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
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
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 Also, 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
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 Beside 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
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.