Thursday, October 06, 2005

Foods that Aid Sleep

The benefits of a sound sleep is not a state secret. We know how sleep can effect our productivity, our decision making capability, functioning of our brain. According to Ayurveda, people who are most vulnerable to sleep disorders have dry hair, suffer hair fall, sensitive digestions, are usually restless, prone to smoking and have DRY SKIN too. In the nutshell, a good night's sleep is essential to good health.

Studies say over 100 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia. But the good news is, you can easily improve your sleep with better sleep habits. For sound sleep tips, click here.

Also, it has been proved now that some food have the power to affect our sleep. The affects can be positive as well as negative. Some foods cam increase our nervous simulation and prevent us from sleeping. Drinking caffeinated beverages or xanthine in tea before bed time are egample of such foods. Also fizzy drinks and cigarettes have the same effect. Basically, these foods stimualte neurochemicals that perk up the brain. Other major factor responsible for a disturbed sleep is eating a heavy dinner before bedtime. it results in snoring, heavy breathing and reflux esophagitis.

Myth: The most common myth found among mass is, they believe alcohol helps in the sleep. But the fact is, alcohol may initially act as sedative but it interupts normal sleep patterns in the long run.

Now, lets look at the other side of the story. There are certain foods which improve our sleep. These foods are rich in trytophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic and lulls us into restful sleep. Eating carbohydrates rich in trytophan makes this calming amino acid more available to brain.

Foods containing trytophan that aid sleep are

. Milk

. Cheese

. Curd

. Potato

. Wheat

. Seafood

. Beans

. Sesame seeds

. Oatmeal

. Apricots

. Bananas

Tip: Avoid eating junk food and highly refined food at night because fibre-rich food increases serotonin availability, but processed carbs over stimulates insulin, which leads to disturbed sleep.

Other Bed time snacks can include:

. Whole grain cereal with milk

. Ice-cream

. Seasame seeds

. Oatmeal or rasin cookies

Tip: Lighter meals are more likely to give you a good night's sleep.

About the Author

Ashley Green - For your complete and most comprehensive family guide on Health.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milk or ice cream before bed is not a good idea. These things puts a strain on the digestive system. If you want to eat something before bed, the best thing to eat is fresh fruit. It is light on the stomach, and the vitamins and nutrients will nourish the body.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know where you're coming from, and I agree... to a point. Studies are beginning to say that milk isn't a good drink for humans at all. However, regarding sleep, milk contains high levels of melatonin, which contributes to a good night sleep, and for people that are used to drinking milk, a small amount before bed should not strain the digestive system much. For those who are not regular milk drinkers, they may want to stay away from milk. One thing that fruit has against it is the sugar content. Sugar is a natural stimulant, and probably not ideal before bed.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with any list of what's good for people is that we are all not cut from the same cloth. Some people suffer from hypoglycemic response (post prandial reactive hypoglycemia), which makes certain foods extremely poor choices for them--those same foods may work wonders for other people. Additionally, some people have food sensitivities that make certain foods a bad choice.

Everyone has to learn what's good for THEM, not what's good for other people. Some things are good for almost everyone universally, and those are key. Anyone that puts on weight easily should definitely ignore recommendations to eat sweet fruits, bread (almost all types), and potatoes ANYTIME, not just at bedtime.

Anyone that eats a high fat, high sugar food like ice cream before bed is asking for nightmares and an extra layer of fat on their thighs the next morning.

For most, milk should be avoided, but cheese can be tested, and often effective.

While alcohol should be avoided as a general class, a half a glass of beer rich in certain types of hops can work WONDERS about an 45-60 minutes before bedtime (Bud American Ale is good).

Celery works good. Turkey is OK. But food is not the only remedy, or a silver bullet--it is probably not even the BEST remedy. Equally important (if not critical) are: dark and quiet bedrooms, vitamin supplements, plentiful water, exercise before noon (not too late), a naturally comfortable but reduced temperature at night (but not TOO cold), wearing socks to bed, not using a pillow that overheats the back of the neck, and reducing intake of simple carbs in the late afternoon and especially evening. Try all these other things. Food should be a last resort as a remedy.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fresh fruit is not a good idea, since vit. C keeps you awake. (fruit in the morning therefore is good)

11:42 AM  

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