Dinner Diva: Craving Sleep? Eat These Foods!
By: Leanne Ely
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, you're not alone. It's estimated that more than 60 million Americans struggle to sleep at night. So why not add some sleep-inducing foods to your diet?
What you eat for dinner really can affect how you sleep. Some foods will help your brain calm down, while others make it race. Some foods will keep you awake, while others will make you rest.
The key material in food we want to look for when it comes to sleepiness is tryptophan. That's a raw ingredient the brain uses to build up its relaxing neurotransmitters, melatonin and serotonin.
This tells us that we should eat a high carbohydrate meal in the evening to help our brains relax, but we're often told not to carb-load late at night when we're trying to watch our weight. Remember, though, that carbs does not necessarily equal bread, which tends to be what everyone thinks!
When it comes to preparing your evening meal, or bedtime snack, look for foods that are high in calcium and carbs, but that are relatively low in protein. Eating a protein-rich meal late in the day without an accompanying carb might keep you awake because of the amino acid tyrosine found in most high-protein foods. It likes to perk up our brains, so go easy on the protein before bed. Dairy contains tryptophan and calcium, both highly conducive to sleep (so your mother was right when she would offer you a warm glass of milk as a child!).
Some good dinner time foods to help promote sleep are: