Food to Help Fight Insomnia
Many people have experienced occasional sleep disturbances at some point in their life, while a smaller sector of the population may be bothered by frequent sleep problems. The truth is some estimates point out that at least 10 % of the general population are affected by a chronic sleep problem, known as insomnia, where a person has trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep throughout the night. Sleep disturbances may become a serious problem since they can lead to daytime drowsiness, and a lack of concentration, which can negatively affect your daily activities.
Although, a large majority of people may rely on sleeping pills to fight their insomnia, the good news is there are natural, alternative ways that can help treat these sleep disturbances. You may find help combating your insomnia simply by choosing the right foods to eat before bedtime.
It’s important to remember, however, that insomnia may be caused by a variety of factors, including anxiety, depression, medication, or some other medical condition. If a change in your diet does not help improve your insomnia, it’s best to consult the medical advice of a doctor for further advice.
What kind of foods can help fight insomnia?
• Greek Yogurt
A healthy source of calcium is found in Greek yogurt along with other milk products. This nutritious milk product can help enhance tryptophan to produce the hormone known as melatonin, which helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which plays an important role in the sleep and wake cycle of a person.
Either eaten alone, or added with milk, and ice to make a smoothie, bananas are a great way to help you get a restful night of sleep. This rich source of potassium and magnesium can help relax, soothe, and calm muscles, along with the tryptophan that converts to melatonin, which helps to regulate normal sleep patterns.
Although this is generally considered a breakfast food, a small bowl of oatmeal is rich in nutrients that can help promote sleep, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. If you prefer, top it off with a small garnish of light fruit, like banana slices for added benefit.
Almonds, as well as other nuts, contain the essential amino acid tryptophan. Since the body can’t manufacture this amino acid by itself, it’s important to obtain tryptophan from the foods we eat since tryptophan is involved in the production of serotonin in the body, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Serotonin then converts to melatonin which plays an important role in regulating sleep and mood patterns.
Eating a light snack of a high carbohydrate food raises the level of the chemical known as serotonin in the brain, which converts to melatonin responsible in regulating a normal sleep cycle. Foods that are good, healthy, carbohydrate sources to fight insomnia include apples with a little low-fat cheese, or peanut butter, a small bowl of whole grain, low sugar cereal with low-fat milk, whole wheat pasta, or a small sweet potato.
Food and Drinks to Avoid for a Good Night’s Sleep
Equally as important in knowing what foods can help you sleep, is being aware of foods to avoid that may disrupt your sleep.
The caffeine in drinks like coffee, and tea, can stimulate the central nervous system causing you to perk up and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. It’s best to avoid caffeine a few hours before bedtime, depending on the individual, since some people may even require at least eight hours of no caffeine before falling asleep.
Foods that are high in protein take longer to digest and burn more energy, therefore keeping you awake longer. If you prefer a late night snack it may be wiser to choose a low protein food source.
• Spicy Food
You may crave a spicy food late at night, but it’s best to avoid them if you want a good night’s sleep. Try including your spicy cravings earlier in the day, preferably at lunchtime to avoid any difficulties in sleeping.
Making the right food choices at night, hopefully will end the day with a restful night’s sleep.