I’m a firm believer in the old saying that we are what we eat; feed a kid sugar and you’ll have yourself an energiser bunny. Add bad fats to that and you’ve got yourself a hyperactive mind and a body that is just too tired to even attempt moving. What we eat affects a lot of what we do and sleep is no different. How do our eating and snacking habits impact our sleep patterns?
One commenter wrote on a forum discussing foods that’ll make you sleep better: “If I have trouble falling asleep, aside from cereal and milk, I also have a bowl of oatmeal. It is a great before bedtime snack.” Cereal is a popular food on this particular forum – wholegrain and Low GI cereals to be specific and milk, of course. Another commenter says how the advice is bad because “carbs so late will make you FAT.”
Contradictory sleep advice is everywhere; I guess it’s up to an individual to decide what works for them. In the above exchange all I agreed with was the wholegrain and milk part. Roughage doesn’t only aid you in digestion it also works to aid sleep. And contrary to what the commenter who fears getting fat from the carb advice had to say I found a doctor who agrees that a balanced before bedtime snack is one that has equal portions of complex carbohydrates, protein and calcium.
Let’s talk tryptophan:
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is mostly responsible for breaking down proteins and producing nervous system messengers related to relaxation and sleep. This is why most people have a warm glass of milk before bed – they know is that it helps them sleep better but I’m pretty sure they don’t know why.
Tryptophan helps produce Serotonin a chemical that is very essential to sleep processes. Here’s a list of Tryptophan-rich foods that could help you to get a better night’s sleep:
- Wheat – but beware; this could also hinder sleep if you have an undetected intolerance to it.
- Beans – all kinds
- Sesame seeds
With all of this said, I apply the royalty analogy of eating like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a peasant in the evening because that’s how I use my energy throughout my day. I always have a light but satisfying meal and then a calming snack, glass of milk or a mug of chamomile tea before bed.That’s what works for me – by the time I turn the light off and get personal with my Sealy, it is ‘Lights Out’.
Armed with this new knowledge… Go on, find your fit!