Most people know how food and drink can affect energy levels and alertness.
It’s unsurprising that 35% of American adults suffer from insomnia symptoms. This is why using food and drink for better sleep is so important.
Diet and sleep are both complex. No one food or diet will guarantee better sleep. Some specific foods and beverages can help you get a good night’s rest.
Specific foods that can affect sleep
Researchers have tried to find the best foods to help you sleep. This includes nutritionists as well as sleep experts. This research is essential, but it needs to be more conclusive. There is a general lack of direct evidence that specific foods are good for sleeping.
The nutrient profiles of many foods can also be inconsistent due to the wide variety of cultivars. Some red grapes, for example, Trusted Source National Library of Medicine Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information promotes science and health through access to biomedical, genomic, and other information. View Source contains high levels of Melatonin, while others have almost none. The climate and growing conditions can also alter the nutrients of any food product.
Sometimes this is based on a particular research study and, in other cases, the underlying nutritional components of the food or drink. This can be found in research studies or the nutritional content of a food.
Dietary decisions can affect much more than energy levels and sleepiness. They can also significantly impact blood sugar, weight, cardiovascular health, and even mood. Speaking to a dietician or doctor before making any significant changes to your diet is essential. This will help you ensure that the food you choose supports your sleep and your other health goals.
The kiwi, or kiwifruit, is a small oval-shaped fruit popularly associated with New Zealand even though it is grown worldwide. Green and gold kiwis come in both varieties, but the green ones are more common.
Kiwifruit is rich in vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, C, and E.
Research has shown that eating kiwi fruit can help improve sleep. A study found that people who ate two kiwis an hour before going to bed fell asleep quicker, slept longer, and experienced better sleep quality.
Researchers believe that kiwis could help you sleep because of their antioxidant properties, ability to address folate deficiency, or high concentration of serotonin.
Tart Cherries & Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries are different from sweet cherries. These include cultivars such as Richmond, Montmorency, and English Morello. You can buy them whole or in a sour cherry liquid.
View Source for people who consume tart cherry juice. One study found that people who drank two 1-cup servings daily of sour cherry juice had more sleep and higher efficiency.
This may be because tart cherry has a higher-than-average concentration of Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate Circadian rhythm and promotes healthy sleep. Sour cherries could also be conducive to sleeping because of their antioxidant effects.
Malted Milk, Nighttime Milk
Malted milk is created by mixing milk with a powder consisting of wheat flour, malted barley, and malted wheat. It also contains sugar and vitamins. Horlick’s is the popular name for malted milk powder.
Trusted Source National Library of Medicine Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information provides access to biomedical information and genomic data. View Source. It is not known why malted milk has these benefits, but it may be due to the B and D vitamin content.
When cows are milked at night, their milk contains more Melatonin. This milk may be helpful. Milk from cows that are milked in the evening includes more Melatonin. This milk can be beneficial. Trusted Source National Center for Biotechnology Information, Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information is a biomedical information center dedicated to advancing science and health.
Research has shown that eating fatty fish can help you sleep better. Over months, the study found that those who ate three portions of salmon per week slept better and performed better during the day.
Researchers think that fatty fish can help you sleep because it contains a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, essential for regulating serotonin in your body. This study concentrated on fish consumption during winter when vitamin D levels are lower.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts Trusted SourceElsevierElsevier is a publishing company that aims to help researchers and health care professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. View Source, pistachios, and cashews are often considered good food for sleep. Nuts contain Melatonin and essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. In a clinical study, a combination of magnesium, zinc, and Melatonin was shown to help older adults who have insomnia.
The Rice Industry
Overall, studies on carbohydrate consumption and sleep have mixed results. However, some evidence suggests that rice consumption is associated with better sleep.
This study only identified an association and cannot prove causality. Still, it supports prior research that showed eating foods with a high glycemic index around four hours before bedtime helped people fall asleep Trusted SourceNational Library of Medicine Biotech InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information Advances science and health by providing biomedical and genome information. View Source those who ate regular rice reported better sleeping than those who ate bread or noodles. The study can only identify an association and not prove causality. However, it confirms previous research, which showed that eating high-glycemic foods around four hours before bed helped people fall asleep.
Not all carbohydrate-rich foods and those with a high glycemic index appear the same. Further research is needed to identify the effects of carbohydrates on sleep.
What you eat with carbohydrates can influence their impact on sleep. The brain can be more easily reached by tryptophan when combined with carbohydrates and a moderate amount of tryptophan-rich protein. Turkey contains high levels of tryptophan.
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Diet and Sleep – The Big Picture
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It’s normal to search for the perfect food to help you sleep. But it’s also important to be realistic. The sleep process is complex and affected by many factors, including your mental health, the amount of light you are exposed to, and underlying physical problems.
The diet also has many facets. It’s not just about one food. Instead, it’s cumulative. It depends on when, what, and how much you eat during the day over weeks, months, and years. It isn’t easy to generalize the best diet because different people can react differently to various diets.
It isn’t easy to design studies that can provide definitive answers on the best food for sleep. It’s tempting, but the science does not support extrapolating from individual studies.
For many people, focusing on healthy eating and sleeping habits is more important than individual foods or drinks.
Healthy Sleep Diet
A diet that is primarily composed of fruits and vegetables is recommended by nutritionists. An appropriately designed diet can provide stable sources of vitamins and minerals essential to sleep, including those which promote it. The Mediterranean Diet is an excellent example of this kind of diet.
Many principles go along with a consistent and balanced diet, and general tips to avoid sleep disturbances caused by food and drinks:
- Limit caffeine consumption, especially during the afternoon and evening, when its stimulant effects may keep you awake at night.
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption can disrupt your sleep cycle even if you feel sleepy initially.
- Avoid eating too late to reduce the risk of acid retching. Avoid spicy or fatty foods in the late evening.
The sleep environment you create and your daily routines, collectively known as Sleep Hygiene, is critical to your ability for good sleep. You should find the best mattresses, bedding, sheets, and decor to promote a healthy sleep environment.
Some foods can help you sleep but will only be effective if your sleep hygiene is good. If your bedroom is bright and noisy, or you use electronic devices while in bed, this can suppress the production of Melatonin and negate the effects of foods that promote sleep.
This review can help you to improve your sleep habits. It will also allow you to include foods that promote sleep in your overall plan for a more restful and consistent sleep.