Good sleep depends on a number of factors, and one that is often overlooked is nutrition. Eating well and avoiding poor food choices can support healthy sleep. If you're having trouble getting the sleep you need each night, consider your sleep habits, including what you're eating.
Food That Can Help You Sleep
Certain foods can help promote quality sleep. Typically, they are rich in tryptophan, calcium, B6, calcium, or magnesium. Foods that can help you get a better night's sleep include:
Food That Can Interfere With Sleep
If you struggle with insomnia, it's a good idea to avoid food that can interfere with good sleep. Food with caffeine, excess sugar, alcohol, excess fat, or spice can be a problem. These foods may be the culprit of poor sleep. Some should be avoided throughout the day, while some, such as those with caffeine, only need to be avoided in the evening:
Overly fatty food
Making Nutrition Part of Your Healthy Sleep Habits
Although food plays a part in healthy sleep, it's not the only important sleep habit you should consider. Make good nutrition a component of your healthy sleep habits to take a holistic approach to healthy sleep. Adopt these sleep habits along with eating food that's supportive of good sleep:
Wind down in the evening. A few hours before bed, be more conscious about what you're eating, drinking, and doing. You should avoid foods that can interfere with sleep, as well as heavy exercise that can make you feel more alert. Screen time can cause sleep issues as well, so be sure to stop screen time at least an hour before bed.
Create a healthy sleep environment. A healthy sleep environment can make it easier for you to get the sleep you need. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. Choose a mattress that appropriately meets your needs, offering support and relieving any aches and pains you may experience.
Maintain a regular bedtime routine. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, along with a bedtime routine that you go through each night can set you up for sleep success. Offering a predictable routine makes it easy for your body to anticipate sleep and start to wind down at the appropriate time. A good bedtime routine can include a small snack of foods that support healthy sleep, such as a glass of warm milk and a handful of nuts or a banana.
Take care if you suffer from reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often gets worse at night as you lay down in bed. It's a good idea to eat your largest meal at lunchtime, rather than in the evening. Consider adjusting the way you sleep so that your head is more elevated. Of course, avoid foods that can trigger your GERD symptoms, including spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine.
Avoid large meals before bed. Although a small snack before bed can help you sleep better, a large meal can make it difficult for your body to focus on rest rather than digestion. Make sure you finish eating dinner at least two hours before bedtime.
Selina Hall is an expert on sleep health and wellness for BestMattressReviews.com. She believes that sleep is one of the most important pillars of health. Selina lives in Portland, Oregon. She sleeps best under a handmade quilt passed down from her great-grandmother.