Today, eating habits are not driven by nutritional needs but by convenience or enticing advertising. What you eat is essential, but many often neglect the times when they eat. What you eat before hitting the bed has a significant impact on your sleep quality and overall health. Certain food items, especially those rich in calories, can leave a heavy, uncomfortable feeling before sleeping. Eating before bed may result in shortness of breath, acid reflux, indigestion, and general discomfort. Some people suggest you should not eat before sleeping because the body’s metabolism rate falls while sleeping, and this process can result in weight gain. However, experts propose that eating the right foods before bed can promote weight loss and potentially lead to a better night of sleep.
Below is a list of some of the best foods to consume before sleeping.
Almonds or any other nuts are perfect for a nighttime snack. The prime reason behind this is that almonds are rich in magnesium, also known as a “relaxation mineral.” These will help your body calm down and enter a relaxation state, which is excellent for sleeping. One of the most common reasons people wake up in the middle of the night is muscle cramps. The magnesium in almonds helps in preventing muscle tension. Almonds will not only help you fall asleep but will also make sure that you don’t wake up abruptly in the middle of the night. Another reason for people to wake up is a blood sugar crash. Almonds will solve that problem for you because they contain good fat, keeping your sugar level relatively steady.
Like almonds and other nuts, bananas also contain relaxing minerals like magnesium and potassium, which will ensure that you sleep like a baby. Additionally, it also carries Vitamin B6, which works as a generator of melatonin, a sleep hormone in our body. It regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle more effectively. They not only control your sleep cycle but also help in comforting your anxiety and stress. They will also keep your tummy full all night, and we all know that a happy tummy results in a peaceful sleep.
Drinking milk in the morning has its advantages, like a rich supply of protein and calcium, which provides a lot of energy for the entire day, but milk consumed before bed is best for the body. It contains amino acids in the form of tryptophan, an essential part of your nutrition for a sound sleep. The reason lies in the fact that tryptophan induces melatonin and serotonin in our bodies. Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, and serotonin is a pleasure-driven hormone; it focuses on promoting a healthy mood, controlling appetite, relieving pain, and improving sleep quality. Researchers and nutritionists recommend drinking cold milk before sleeping because it helps regulate acidity and prevents other stomach issues like constipation and flatulence.
Studies have proved that consuming even a small amount of honey before bed can result in instant and sound sleep. A single teaspoon full of honey will induce just the right amount of melatonin in your body. Honey also helps in shutting off orexin, which is the component that activates alertness, tension, and restlessness in the human body. Apart from being an excellent sleep-promoting agent, honey also helps in keeping respiratory issues away while sleeping. Coughing, chest pain, and breathing difficulties can be resolved by consuming a spoonful of honey before dozing off.
White rice is consumed as a staple food in many regions. White rice is known to promote sleep due to its high Glycemic Index (GI), which is the measure of how quickly a particular food item raises your blood sugar level. It is recommended to eat white rice for at least one hour before falling asleep. It activates your sleep hormones and helps you fall asleep at ease. Rice is rich in carbohydrates that boost serotonin in your body, resulting in a happy and content mood that promotes sleepiness.
This may seem questionable and unusual, but nutritionists do recommend having popcorn as a healthy bedtime snack. Popcorn is a complex carb and will raise your body’s serotonin level and cause you to feel drowsy. However, it is crucial to understand that having any regular popcorn will not help. Unseasoned, low-fat popcorn is the best choice for healthy popcorn. Otherwise, it may lead to unwanted stomach problems that would result in uneasiness and discourage sleep.
Food items like kiwi, berries, walnuts, oats, etc., are rich in magnesium and calcium, which induce sleep-friendly hormones in the body. These are also low-calorie food items and will not leave you feeling too heavy. These are excellent sources of serotonin and melatonin. Your late-night cravings can be easily satisfied with these nutritious munchies.
After knowing the right food items to consume before bedtime, it is essential to know which types of food will create problems while sleeping.
Here’s a list that will help you understand your body’s needs and the foods you should avoid before bed.
Fatty food such as cottage cheese, chicken meat, lamb, pork, etc., are difficult to digest at night because of the human body’s low metabolism rate at night time. Consuming such kinds of food can result in indigestion, heartburn, a rise in your body’s temperature, and, ultimately, discomfort while sleeping.
Many people have the habit of consuming alcohol at night with dinner, making them feel sleepy. This is a terrible practice to keep because even if alcohol may help you fall asleep very quickly, it will disrupt your sleep cycle and adversely affect your REM sleep.
Soda at night time is a big no! It contains a very high level of sugar, which can keep you awake all night.
Yes, water. Drinking a lot of water at night will disturb sleep as you will feel the urge to urinate multiple times. More water should be consumed during the day and less during the night.
There is a range of food items that contain huge portions of hidden caffeine. This includes dark chocolate, ice creams, energy drinks, etc. These sneaky items will keep you up all night, and you would not even understand the reason behind your interrupted sleep.
Your body’s food intake and its timing can have extreme results on your health. It is of utmost importance to realize that inappropriate food consumption habits before bedtime can take a toll on your heart and stomach. A box of pizza and a can of soda may sound very tempting during your movie nights, but the consequences are inevitable, and you do not want to regret your food intake decisions the next morning.
Replace alcohol with herbal tea, soda with a glass of milk, cheese with greek yogurt, and see for yourself how you sleep like a baby. Taking care of your eating and sleeping habits is one of the most critical steps of self-care.