Food to Help You Sleep

Food and sleep are two of humanity’s most basic needs. They work together to provide us with the energy required for a healthy life. Most people will have experienced tiredness after eating and may have even succumbed to the desire to nap following a particularly large meal. What we eat affects our energy levels and sleep, so getting your diet right is an important step towards living a healthy, happy life.

In this post, TEMPUR® explores the link between food and sleep, providing guidance on which types of food may help you sleep and which you should avoid.

A HEALTHY DIET FOR SLEEP

The link between food and sleep is complex. Whilst there are specific foods believed to help you sleep, your priority should be getting a nutritionally balanced diet. The effects of food on sleep are cumulative, so merely adding a food to your diet won’t necessarily mean you drift off easily at night. This is especially true if you ingest many other things that have a negative impact on your ability to sleep, such as coffee.

Eating a variety of foods and providing your body with a wide range of nutrients is therefore the first step to getting a good night’s rest. You should also limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these have been shown to negatively affect the quality of sleep.

FOOD TO HELP YOU SLEEP

Although balance and variety are your priorities, there are foods that you can include in your diet that are thought to aid sleep:

  • Kiwis – rich in folates, vitamins and minerals, eating this nutritious fruit may help you fall asleep faster and boost your sleep quality
  • Almonds & walnuts – a healthy snack, these are a rich source of melatonin, the chemical which regulates the human sleep cycle
  • Chamomile tea – a great alternative to coffee for the afternoon and evening, this tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that helps to promote sleep
  • Fatty fish – from salmon to mackerel, fish high in fatty acids like omega-3 help to regulate your circadian rhythm
  • Turkey – containing the amino acid tryptophan, this meat can encourage melatonin production and may make you feel sleepy as a result

Try adding some of these foods to your diet and see if any of them help you sleep better. However, remember that more research still needs to be conducted to confirm if and why these foods boost sleep quality.

EATING AT BEDTIME

Although the foods listed above are linked to better sleep, you don’t need to eat them immediately before bed to benefit from their effects. In fact, eating too soon before bed can increase your risk of acid reflux, which can be very painful and keep you awake through the night. It’s therefore best to avoid eating for a few hours before bedtime.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AT BEDTIME?

Eat your dinner a few hours before bed and then spend the rest of your evening unwinding. Take a relaxing bubble bath, read a book, and set aside some time to meditate – these activities have been shown to help calm your mind and prepare it for sleep.

After this, you should get into bed. Routine is key, so try to do this at the same time each day. It’s also vital that your sleep environment is relaxing and comfortable; your mattress and pillows must be of a high quality and you should use good blinds or a sleep mask to block out any light.

That concludes the TEMPUR® guide to foods to help you sleep. Have you found eating any of the foods we have suggested has helped your sleep? Do you have any further recommendations? Let us know in the comments below…

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