Wouldn’t it be great if there was a magic combination of foods you could eat (or avoid) to ensure a restful night’s sleep? You might be surprised to know that there’s not much research to back up the claims about specific foods and sleep. However, there are a few foods that are sleep promoters and few foods that are sleep stealers that you should know about. Here are six foods for trouble sleeping (3 helpful and 3 to avoid).
6 Foods For Trouble Sleeping
Sleep Promoting Foods:
Get some snoozing help from fresh cherries or cherry juice. One study showed that elderly patients who drank fresh, tart cherry juice twice a day had an easier time falling asleep. Other studies have shown that eating fresh cherries just might help you stay asleep longer and wake up less during the night.
If it’s wintertime and cherries are hard to come by, look around your local grocery store for kiwifruit. Don’t be put off by the fuzzy brown exterior: When in season, kiwi can be deliciously sweet. You’ll want a fruit with a little bit of give — kind of like a pear — not too hard but not mushy, either. To eat, simply cut the kiwifruit in half and use a spoon to scoop out the bright green goodness. Or use the edge of your spoon to peel away the brown fuzz, then slice the fruit into a fruit salad. Research shows that if you eat two kiwi fruits about an hour before bedtime, you might have longer, higher-quality zz’s.
It’s true, milk can help you fall asleep — but only if the milk has a high concentration of naturally occurring melatonin. In other words, the milk has to come from a cow that’s milked at night, in darkness. If you happen to own a dairy farm, you’re in luck. Otherwise, milk might not help as much as you’d hoped.
Foods That May Reduce Sleep
There’s a tricky amino acid called tyramine in blue cheese (and other aged cheeses, smoked meats, and even soy sauce). Too much tyramine can cause your brain to release a stimulant that’ll make you feel jumpy and give you strange dreams — the opposite of what you need at bedtime. Tyramine can also cause a “cheese headache” or even a migraine for some.
Beware the temptation to perk up with an energy drink — especially if you’re tired. The ingredients in drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and 5-Hour Energy may give you a temporary lift, but the long-term consequences might not be worth it. Studies show that, even if you have your energy drink early in the day, its combination of caffeine and taurine can disrupt your sleep. You should also know that there’s heightened concern about energy drinks lately, particularly energy shots marketed to older adults, as they’re connected to increased emergency room visits.
Many people are increasingly sensitive to caffeine as they get older, and even the caffeine in chocolate may prevent a restful nights sleep. You may want to skip that chocolate snack before bedtime.
Guest post by Kate Antheil Boyd who is VP of Content for Caring.com, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. You can get more ideas for foods that keep you awake on the caring.com website.