A Answers (3)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredYou may not think what happens at your dinner table has much to do with your nights of tossing and turning, but there is a connection. Diets high in refined sugar can cause indigestion and trigger insulin surges that interfere with the hormones that affect sleep. The solution: low-fat and high-fiber foods.Helpful? 47 people found this helpful.
Foods containing high amounts of tryptophan, a precursor of sleep-inducing serotonin, can help you sleep.
Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and pasta, and dairy products such as milk and cheese are examples of sleep-inducing foods.
However, you should avoid refined carbohydrates and high-sugar foods as these can quickly elevate blood glucose, and excessively fatty foods such as fried chicken and potato chips, as they can cause heartburn when you are trying to go to sleep. Eating salad can also help you sleep better at night as the lectucarium in lettuce has sedative properties.
Also, drinking before bed is not a good idea as you will probably end up having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you need to drink to take medications, take small sips, and if a full glass of water is needed, take the medicine earlier if possible, preferably not within 90 minutes of bedtime.
Alcohol and caffeine, on the other hand, make it harder to sleep. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it prevents you from getting the REM sleep that you need to feel refreshed. The stimulatory effects of caffeine vary per person: for some people, the caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for hours. In general, you should abstain from caffeine in the afternoon and evening.Helpful? 3 people found this helpful.
Sarah LoBisco, Integrative Medicine, answered
What you eat affects your body in a variety of ways. Specifically related to sleep, diets high in sugar or in food sensitivities can increase blood sugar, the stress response, and/or inflammation in the body. Eating foods high in processed sugars or that your body is sensitive to late at night can create a rise in blood sugar. This will cause a shift in your body's sleep-wake cycle, making it harder for the brain to calm down and rest. Furthermore, spikes in blood sugar raise insulin which affects melatonin and thyroid hormone-both important for modulating sleep response. Finally, eating foods your body can't digest properly, because you are sensitive to them, can create inflammation in the digestive tract or reflux causing someone to wake up or not fall asleep properly. Any of these factors or additional emotional stress on the body decreases your ability to absorb essential nutrients and minerals which are important for a variety of metabolic functions, including weight management and hormones related to sleep.
Therefore, eating a healthy, whole food, organic diet that is high in nutrients is important for all aspects of health. I usually recommend patients to try some organic peanut butter 1-2 hours before bed to raise tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce melatonin (the sleep hormone), and provide some anti-inflammatory healthy fats to calm the brain and body down. If this works, you can bet there is a blood sugar or hormonal/neurotransmitter issue contributing to sleeplessness.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.