Insomnia and sleeping problems can have many causes but diet can certainly affect sleep. Diets rich in sugar, food additives and salt can have a negative effect on sleep patterns. Eating at the right time is also important but overall the effects of certain foods can cause insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Eating right to sleep well is a very important factor when it comes to dealing with sleep problems .Many of the foods that play a big part in modern, busy lives can have a severe effect on sleep. Fast foods such as hamburgers, cola drinks and sugary sweets do not offer the right nutrition for sleeping well. Consuming large quantities of junk food which contains Monosodium glutamate (MSG) will help to keep the brain awake. MSG is also thought to cause problems with breathing during sleep. Coffee is another culprit as the caffeine in coffee also makes it more difficult to sleep.
There are many foods which can aid sleep. Starchy food, for instance, such as pasta, rice and potatoes help us to sleep better. They release energy slowly, and do not cause sudden sugar spikes. Starchy foods seem to act as sedative on the brain and they may even help to release serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical which helps the body to sleep well. Keeping the evening meal simple is a good idea as a heavy meal could cause indigestion, which is very uncomfortable. A simple evening meal, with perhaps rice and grilled chicken, is more easy to digest than a steak dinner. Spicy meals such as curries or chilies should also be avoided.
Some people with sleep problems prefer to eat their main meal in the middle of the day. This means that when they get home they can start to relax, and perhaps enjoy a sandwich instead of a full meal. A sandwich is a traditional supper dish but a bowl of porridge is an alternative. Porridge oats release energy slowly, and is a natural food not rich in sugar.
The best advice is to never go to bed hungry but also not on a full stomach. To sleep well try to focus foods and liquids which are rich in tryptophan.
Tryptophan is very important for better sleep as it to converts into serotonin in the brain. There are many foods which are rich in tryptophan. Cheese is one, and even though some people claim it causes nightmares there is no scientific evidence for this. Milk is another food product which contains tryptophan. A hot milky drink with a sweet biscuit can help to induce better sleep. Honey is very rich in tryptophan, so a cup of chamomile tea with some added honey may also help. Both honey and biscuits contain small amounts of sugar but a small amount of sugar helps the brain cells to absorb more tryptophan.
A food diary is a good option if you are concerned about eating right to sleep well. Some people react differently to different foods but as a general rule of thumb try to keep meals later in the day lighter. Remember to include starchy foods and that tryptophan is a good sleep’s best friend.