Foods that promote and hinder sleep

Written by Chef Alain Braux
Have you ever wondered whether something you ate made it easier or more difficult for you to get a good night sleep? Well, chef Alain Braux has provided us with a list of foods and drinks that promote or hinder sleep. Read on to find out what they are.

Best foods to help you sleep

Almonds are a good source of plant-based protein. They also provide a good amount of magnesium, which promotes sleep and muscle relaxation. Munch on a handful of raw almonds before bed for better sleep.

Bananas are packed with potassium and magnesium – nutrients that double as natural muscle relaxants. Plus, they contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which ultimately turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain.

Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body’s internal clock.

Chickpeas and other beans are rich in vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the NewYork Academy of Sciences.

Fish, like salmon, halibut and tuna boast vitamin B6 which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Steamed or oven-roasted is better than fried.

Green leafy vegetables like kale and collards, also boast healthy doses of calcium. And research suggests that being calcium deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.

Herbal teas. Some herbal teas like valerian along with motherwort, chamomile, and catnip, none of which contain caffeine, will help make you drowsy.

Oatmeal. Just one bowl with warm milk provides plenty of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium – all sleep-promoting nutrients. Take it easy on added sweeteners, since too much sugar could jeopardize restful sleep.

Sweet potatoes provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain that muscle-relaxant potassium. Other good sources of potassium include regular potatoes (baked with the skin on), Lima beans, and papaya.

Turkey meat contains tryptophan, a chemical that can make people doze off in front of the TV.

Whole grains like bulgur, barley and other whole grains are rick in magnesium—and consuming too little magnesium can make it harder to sleep longer, reported the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.

Whole milk & yogurt (raw if possible) A glass of warm whole milk with a little honey contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. They contain a healthy doses of calcium—and there’s research that suggests being calcium-deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.

Foods to avoid before sleeping

Alcohol of any kind is terrible for sleep. It metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night.

Bacon cheeseburger is loaded with bad fat and is fried in fat. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can spill up into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Fatty foods can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, making it even easier for acid to get in all the wrong places. The buns is made of refined carbohydrates which can cause hypoglycemia.

Coffee and tea contains caffeine, which is a central nervous stimulant. Drinking them too close to bedtime will keep you up at night. A caffeine-free herbal tea is a better choice.

Dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, another stimulant that can increase heart rate and sleeplessness. Note: I eat a square of dark 70% chocolate every night and it does not seem to affect me. Keep in mind, we are all different.

Energy drinks. These drinks are loaded with caffeine. An eight-ounce Red Bull energy drink contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine or equivalent to a one-ounce Starbucks espresso.

Soft drinks. For example, Mountain Dew MDX along with jolt Cola and Vault contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving, the upper limit of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows.

Spicy meals. Spices may cause digestive problems in sensitive people. They can cause heartburn. A study found that men who poured Tabasco sauce and mustard on their dinner had more trouble falling asleep and experienced less deep sleep than men who ate blander suppers.

Chef Alain Braux is a best-selling and multiple award-winning food and health author. He is also a food and health consultant, a speaker and panelist on food allergies, Paleo and anti-GMO issues. Mr. Braux is also award-winning Executive Chef and Nutrition Therapist. Alain Braux is the co-host on the podcast, “the Low Carb Paleo Show” and the food and health contributing editor to the Low Carb Magazine, Hip4Kids Magazine, Healthy Organic Women, Stuffed Pepper, and Food Solutions Magazine.

See his Media Page or find him on FacebookLinkedInGoogle+ andTwitter.

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