What to eat and drink before bed: the good and the bad
The food and drink we consume have the ability to change our mood, impact our energy levels and generally just make it easier to get through the day. This may seem obvious to you, but many people don’t consider how what you eat and drink might impact your quality of sleep.
Eat And Drink Before Bed
Getting a good night’s sleep is really important to your overall health, not to mention weight management, ability to concentrate and productivity. This means you want to take steps to ensure that you’re getting enough hours of good sleep every night.
One of the ways you can do this is to know what will help you get to sleep and what is likely to have you up all night. Not only will this allow you to drift off faster, it means you’re more likely to get uninterrupted sleep every night.
Here’s what you should and shouldn’t be eating before you head off to the land of nod:
Good – cherries
Fresh cherries are the perfect evening snack before you hit the hay because they contain melatonin. This chemical is what helps our body to sort out its internal clock and getting more of it can trigger your body to go into sleep mode.
Stay clear of sugary glace cherries or those in syrup and stick with fresh cherries or juice to help boost your melatonin levels and help you enjoy more blissful sleep.
Bad – coffee
You start your morning with a cup of coffee to help you wake up, so why would you drink it before heading to bed? In fact, considering caffeine can remain active in your system for up to six hours, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of it from late afternoon onwards.
Even those with a tolerance to coffee can find it negatively impacts their sleep, so stay off the java for a few hours before heading to bed and you’ll find you’re less restless and better able to drift off. Caffeinated tea has the same effect, so steer clear of this too.
Good – bananas
Bananas may be chock full of natural sugars that usually give you energy, but at night, they are perfect for promoting sleep. This is because they contain high levels of potassium and magnesium, which help your muscles to relax.
If your body is able to relax, your mind soon follows suit and you’re able to fall asleep faster and deeper. Because potassium is also important for our brains, you may even find that you’re able to wake up much faster when you have a banana before bed.
Bad – dark chocolate
A small amount of dark chocolate during the day may have some health benefits, but at night, it will play havoc with your sleep pattern. While it doesn’t contain as much sugar as milk and white varieties, dark chocolate does contain quite a bit of caffeine.
On top of this, it contains another stimulant called theobromine, which – especially when teamed with caffeine – is enough to give you a sleepless night, as well as increase your heart rate.
Good – turkey
It may seem like an odd choice, but turkey is perfect for giving you a nudge into the land of nod. This is because it contains a chemical called tryptophan that can make it easier to drift off, which might explain why people get tired after Christmas dinner.
While you’d have to eat a lot of turkey to have a big impact, enjoying it as a healthy snack before bed or as part of your evening meal could better prepare your mind and body for sleep.
Bad – spices
Spicy food may taste delicious, but it isn’t great for promoting sleep – especially when teamed with high-fat foods. Hot spices can trigger a stomach upset and heartburn, which isn’t great if you’re trying to settle in for the night.
While you may enjoy a curry every now and then, try to have yours earlier in the day and opt for foods that aren’t spicy before bed.
Good – milk
It looks like our mums were right when they’d give us a glass of milk before bed. Whether you drink it cold out of the fridge or warmed up, milk is great because, like turkey, it contains tryptophan. This chemical is actually a precursor to serotonin, helping you to relax and setting you up for a good night’s sleep.
Of course, it could also work because it is comforting and brings back some nice childhood memories.