Sleep is one of the most vital necessities for your overall health.
Getting a good night’s shut-eye not only recharges your body to be active and ready for the next day but is also important for your body to repair and heal.
When you are asleep, your brain triggers the release of specific hormones to either repair or heal certain parts of your body like blood vessels and boosting your immunity.
That’s right, your immune system will be compromised if you do not get enough quality sleep.
This very fact might provide you with the required incentive to try hard and get proper sleep due to the kind of world we are currently living in and the unanticipated realization of the importance of good immunity.
But, what if you are doing everything in the book and yet, and are struggling to sleep properly?
While there are many factors that sabotage your sleep, one of the most important factors is the food you eat before you hit your bed.
In this article, let’s look at the 10 best and worst foods to eat before you sleep.
1. Best: Banana
Banana is one of the most common and popular fruits in the world. It is an excellent source of magnesium and potassium.
However, not many are aware of its sleep-promoting properties.
They contain sleep-regulating hormones like serotonin and melatonin.
Bananas are known to relax your muscles and cast a positive effect on the quality of sleep. This ensures that you sleep easily and longer, and also helps you wake up in the morning feeling less tired.
2. Worst: Ice Cream
Who doesn’t scream for a bowl of yummy ice cream for dessert after dinner, right?
Or, are you guilty of late-night snacking on ice cream?
Well, we hate to break it to you but, having ice cream late in the night will ruin your sleep.
As it is high in sugar content, it will drastically shoot your insulin levels up, which in turn will make it hard for you to get good quality sleep.
In addition to this, having ice cream late in the night is also known to increase the levels of cortisol in you. It is a stress hormone and it also makes it hard for you to fall asleep easily.
3. Best: Milk
Most people have a glass of milk early in the morning for breakfast with some cereals.
However, not many are aware of the fact that it will be more beneficial for you to have milk in the night before going to sleep than have it in the morning.
Milk and milk products like cottage cheese (paneer), and yogurt are rich in tryptophan, which is known to promote quality sleep in adults.
So, next time when you find yourself tossing in your bed, have a warm glass of milk, and you will be out like a light.
4. Worst: Cheese
Just because we said milk products help promote quality sleep, it does not mean all milk products do the same.
Cheese, for instance, does the opposite. Most cheeses contain tyramine, an amino acid. It is known to produce a hormone, norepinephrine. It is a hormone that is usually released during a fight or flight situation.
Naturally, this will improve your alertness, which in turn would dampen your ability to sleep well. So, you may want to save your cheese for a great breakfast meal.
5. Best: Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates. They are often believed to be more healthier and beneficial than their regular counterparts.
Since they are complex carbohydrates and are also rich in potassium, they help relax your muscles and promote good sleep. And, don’t forget to have them with the peel on as they are rich in many nutrients and antioxidants.
6. Worst: Dark chocolate
A lot of people are fond of dark chocolate and we at RedHeal also give it a thumbs up for its heart-health promoting properties.
However, it is one of the worst foods to eat before bedtime as most dark chocolates are high in caffeine. Caffeine, as you may be aware, is not the substance you need in your system if you are thinking of catching some Zzzs.
7. Best: Oats
Similar to white rice, oats are high in carbohydrates. However, they are a healthier substitute for white rice as they are complex and have more percentage of fiber.
Additionally, it is a good source of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone.
8. Worst: Red meat
Red meat or any meat for that matter takes longer for your body to digest, making it some of the worst foods to have right before you go to sleep.
As your digestive system will be busy breaking the meat down all night, it can affect your sleep quality as well as make it hard for you to fall asleep.
9. Best: Fish
Fish, especially fatty fishes are high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both these are known to promote quality sleep.
Fatty fishes are also high in serotonin, a sleep-regulating hormone.
10. Worst: Indian curries
While we hate to stereotype our own Indian food cuisine, let’s not deny the fact that most of the Indian dishes, especially curries, are loaded with a heavy dose of fiery spices.
While eating spicy food has its own benefits, it might be a bad decision to have at night as it causes heartburn, which in turn affects the quality of your sleep.
In addition to ruining your sleep, eating spicy food can also cause gastric ulcers, acid reflux, and acute gastritis among others. If you are already facing the heat for eating spicy food by noticing gastrointestinal symptoms, you may want to consult a gastroenterologist near you.