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Can You Eat for Better Sleep?

Posted On April 19, 2014
eat for better sleep
April 19, 2014

It’s pretty much common sense. If you want to get a good night of sleep, you know to avoid spicy Cajun Chicken, a double shot of espresso in your late afternoon coffee, and you forego a vodka tonic with dinner. But on the flip side, can you eat for better sleep? You bet.

It is not an old wives’ tale that consuming turkey can make a person sleepy. It is all due to an amino acid called tryptophan, which assists the body in its production of melatonin and serotonin. Both of these substances help a person sleep and relax. And you can also get an increase in serotonin production by eating complex carbohydrates.

Eat for Better Sleep

If you are fantasizing about getting a good night of sleep, start with making sure you eat dinner at least 3 hours before you would like to have your head come in contact with your pillow. But you can have a healthy snack about 45 minutes to an hour from that designated time. If you choose this snack wisely, it can help you get a better night of sleep.

There are certain foods, like turkey, that contain tryptophan including peanut butter, bananas, honey, milk, yogurt, cheese, nuts, seeds and eggs. Some complex carbohydrates that can increase serotonin production are oatmeal, granola, wheat crackers, fruit, whole-grain cereal and bagels. If you combine items from these two groups, even better. Snacks should not be more than 150 to 200 calories as anything more will make your digestive tract work too hard and thus might prevent a good night of sleep. And it helps if the temperature of the item is warm…think warm milk with a splash of honey and a half a banana.

Another tip to getting a good night of sleep is to have a cup of chamomile tea. The herb in this beverage has been known and used for centuries to combat the symptoms of insomnia.

Some other foods that can help you sleep are:

  • Miso soup: not only is it warm and comforting but it also contains amino acids that can increase melatonin production.
  • Cherries: a natural source of melatonin and best to consume fresh. But if not in season, eat dried cherries or drink in juice form.
  • Almonds: contain magnesium, which helps to promote sleep and muscle relaxation.
  • Jasmine rice: research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that jasmine rice with its high glycemic index was shown to increase tryptophan and serotonin production and thus induced sleep at an earlier onset.

If you have trouble sleeping or think you have sleep apnea, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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