The Right Snacks To Help You Relax
That old wives’ tale may have some truth to it – a glass of tryptophan-rich milk before bed can make you feel drowsy for the same reason turkey does. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps your body produce melatonin, an important sleep-inducing hormone. It’s best to incorporate tryptophan-rich foods in a light snack containing protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates like whole grains, since carbohydrates help your brain more readily use tryptophan.
A few whole grain crackers with some cheese, or some nut butter on toast, are nutritious and easy to prepare snacks based on this principle. For an extra dose of melatonin, you can also drink naturally melatonin-rich tart cherry juice. Tomatoes, walnuts, and orange bell peppers are other natural sources of melatonin.
It should come as no surprise that coffee and other caffeinated beverages are not sleep aids, but keep in mind that consuming caffeine within six hours before bed can negatively affect your rest. That’s because caffeine stays in your body for a long time, and can fragment your sleep cycles long after the caffeine-high wears off.
You may also want to rethink that nightcap. Despite popular belief, alcohol will not help you sleep better — at least, certainly not more than one drink’s worth. A single glass of wine may help you relax, but any more than that can fragment your sleep and leave you feeling groggy in the morning. This is because later stages of alcohol metabolism interfere with deeper phases of your sleep cycles, so you will likely wake up feeling tired despite having spent enough time in bed. Alcohol can also worsen dangerous disorders like sleep apnea since alcohol is a muscle relaxant and hampers the activity of your throat muscles. Warm milk or a hot cup of soothing, decaffeinated tea, like chamomile or peppermint, are better options for the evening.
Here at Regal Sleep Solutions, we’ve got you covered on the mattress end of the sleep equation, but we want you to be aware of all the other variables. Check our Sleep Centre Blog regularly for more helpful tips!