Can Certain Foods Help You Sleep Better?

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Sleep is as crucial as diet and exercise for maintaining good health. If not more.

However, a poor night’s sleep does more than just make you feel groggy; it can negatively impact your mood, metabolism, and even your food cravings, particularly if you’re on a weight loss journey.

Many factors influence how well you sleep, and what you eat plays a significant role. When you eat can be just as important as what you eat. This concept, known as chrono-nutrition, studies the impact of food and meal timing on sleep-wake cycles.

Research suggests that eating dinner less than three hours before bedtime can lead to poor sleep quality.

Let’s talk about it.

The Food, Sleep, Weight Connection

There are certain foods that can keep you awake, and it’s important to know what they are because poor sleep can make it harder to lose weight. Here’s what the research says:

  • Getting enough sleep each night (7 hours or more) can aid in weight loss.
  • Good sleep activates brown fat activity, which burns fat and regulates fat metabolism.
  • Lack of sleep is linked to increased snacking. Studies show that people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to consume more calories and opt for high-carbohydrate foods like doughnuts over healthier options like carrot sticks.

Foods to Avoid Right Before Bedtime

Before diving into foods that can enhance sleep, it’s important to know which foods and drinks to avoid:

  • Caffeine: Known for its energizing effects, caffeine can significantly disrupt sleep.
  • Alcohol: While it may initially make you feel sleepy, alcohol can reduce sleep quality, causing you to wake up frequently.
  • Fatty, salty foods: Items like pizza and French fries can cause acid reflux, a major barrier to sleep.

Top 5 Foods That Could Help You Sleep Better

There’s no magic snack that will instantly put you to sleep, but certain foods can increase the likelihood of a good night’s rest:

  1. Tart Cherry Juice
    • Consuming tart cherry juice twice daily has been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve insomnia symptoms. Tart cherries help with melatonin production, a hormone that induces sleepiness.
  1. Kiwifruit
    • Kiwifruit is a good source of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior and is necessary for melatonin production.
  1. Tryptophan-Rich Foods
    • Foods high in tryptophan, such as whole grains, milk, and other high-protein items, may improve sleep outcomes. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin and melatonin.
  1. Fatty Fish and Seafood
    • Fatty fish like salmon are rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are linked to better sleep. Vitamin D deficiency and low omega-3 levels can adversely affect sleep.
  1. Milk and Dairy Products
    • Dairy products contain melatonin and tryptophan. Drinking warm milk or consuming cheese can help induce sleep. A study of hospital patients found that those who drank warm milk mixed with honey for three days experienced improved sleep.

The Bottom Line

To improve your sleep, consider making some dietary changes. Avoid foods and drinks that are known to disrupt sleep, incorporate foods with natural sleep-promoting properties, and avoid eating dinner too close to bedtime.

By paying attention to your dietary habits and how they affect your sleep, you can make informed choices that promote better rest and overall health. Whether you’re looking to improve your sleep quality or achieve other health goals, understanding the relationship between food and sleep is a key step toward a healthier lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • There is no miracle food or drink that guarantees the perfect night’s rest.
  • Eating dinner too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
  • Being tired increases the urge to snack on high-calorie foods.
  • Foods like milk, fatty fish, and certain fruits may help improve sleep quality.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and foods that cause reflux can disrupt sleep and alter sleep cycles.