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Foods For Sleep

People fight sleepless nights with the use of various sedatives. It is very important for patients suffering with insomnia to have the right food at the right time.

It is also important to know what foods can be consumed before retiring to earn a good night’s sleep.

Foods For SleepMany of you may have experienced falling asleep right after the heavy turkey that was served during lunch for thanksgiving! The reason is not because of the overload in your stomach but because of the turkey which is rich in tryptophan.

Foods containing Tryptophan, which is an amino acid, are the best sources for sleep. Other foods that contain this amino acid are meats, poultry, cheese, eggs, fish and yoghurt. However, these foods may not give you the best results unless they are consumed along with an adequate amount of carbohydrates. It is best to have low protein and high carbohydrate foods like whole wheat products, oats, fruits & vegetables, sprouts, low-fat milk & yoghurt, etc.

The science behind this is that, though tryptophan has the ability to create high levels of serotonin (a brain chemical which helps soothing the mind by altering the individual’s mood to a lighter side), it is unable to reach the brain due to the hindrance of other amino acids present alongside that are waiting to enter the brain. This is when carbohydrates play a role. The carbs that are consumed stimulate insulin production that diverts all the other amino acids to the muscle tissues thus aiding tryptophan to enter the brain with ease, where serotonin is produced and it begins to act. The serenity created by serotonin enables the body to gain a good sleep.

Foods For SleepThus, consuming foods that contain tryptophan alone will not suffice. It needs to be consumed along with a rich source of carbohydrates in order to put this natural remedy to work! Now that we know the kind of food that we should eat to trigger sleep, it is equally important to know what we ought not to eat before going to sleep.

I remember the times when I used to stay awake the whole night to study during my exams. The only thing that kept me up through the night was 2-3 cups of coffee. Coffee containing caffeine arouses the CNS (Central Nervous System) and keeps the body awake.  Exactly! Do not have high caffeinated foods before you sleep. For people with insomnia, it is best to avoid coffee since the number of hours you may consume caffeine before going to bed without affecting your sleep differs for each individual based on the severity of the disease and sensitivity of the person. Try avoiding alcohol before you sleep since it may also be a cause for your insomnia.

Eating a heavy dinner just before sleeping could cause gastrointestinal issues or heartburns which may disrupt sleep. Doctors generally recommend patients to eat 3-4 hours before sleeping.

For patients who face difficulties in going back to sleep after waking up, it is recommended not to drink water at least 2 hours before you sleep so that you would not have to wake up to use the bathroom during the night and disrupt your sleep.

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*The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the Editor. Results may vary from person to person and cannot be guaranteed.

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