Regardless of whether you are a night owl or a morning lark, once the head is finally down on the pillow, everyone wants nothing but a huge sack of sleep’s best sand from the Sandman! Nevertheless, did you ever wonder if your annoying insomnia might be because of the food that you eat? Perhaps it is time to dwell upon the age-old proverb, ‘Eat Right And Sleep Right’.
How do foods help or kill your sleep?
Food we eat can determine whether to drop us down at your wedding or pick you up at the most important business meeting! Continuing an erratic diet that confuses your body between wakefulness and drowsiness creates an awry circadian rhythm. This gradual neglect of food that helps you sleep causes the loss of your mind and its stability as well.
So how does certain food help you sleep?
Apart from the nourishing and revitalizing qualities, National Sleep Foundation advocates that the food we eat can fluctuate the hormone levels in the body to make us more energetic or fatigued than normal.
Some ways that food helps a person to sleep are:
Amino Acid with Tryptophan Foods produces Drowsiness
– One of the eight essential amino acids, Tryptophan is a pro-sleep natural pill that is made solely inside the body and hence, is dependent only on our diet. When our body consumes food containing Tryptophan amino acid, it is broken down into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is our body’s switch for relaxation, which is mandatory for deep sleep to avoid waking up in the middle of the night. When adequate melatonin is produced, our body falls into deep sleep and feeds the same into its circadian rhythm.
Melatonin produced from Amino Acid creates Sleepiness
– The precursors of the metabolism of Tryptophan, serotonin helps the body and the overactive mind to relax, while melatonin helps the body to enter sleep, successfully. It also helps in synchronizing the biological clock of our body by controlling its sleeping time, regulation of blood pressure and reproductive abilities. Melatonin supplements are also popular cure for jet lag issues.
Amino Acids with Tyramine should be avoided to help you sleep
– Another essential amino acid is Tyramine, derived from tyrosine, which should be strictly, avoided if you are planning to sleep soon after its consumption! When Tyramine, enters the blood stream, it pressurizes the adrenal gland to secrete a stimulant called Norepinephrine.
– The Norepinephrine fills up the synapse of the neurons, and shoots up the blood pressure to make the person unstoppably restless. One should avoid foods like Chocolate and Salami before bedtime to help the wellness of our circadian rhythm.
Avoiding Caffeine will release your sleep hormones and help you sleep
– Another stimulant, coffee should be strictly avoided at least 10 hours before bedtime. Caffeine in coffee is known for pushing the body into a shocked state immediately after consumption, by releasing adrenaline and other chemicals necessary to block the sleep hormones! Even moderate amounts of caffeine can persist in the system for long hours, so coffee is a strict no-no if you want a good night’s sleep!
Natural sleep or Post Lunch Dip
– Have you felt noticed this everyday habit at a specific times in the afternoon, you feel terribly drowsy? Sometimes, when you try to sleep, the drowsiness vanishes and sometimes you fight it off for the sake of an important waking activity. Also known as the post lunch dip, this is a partially forgotten habit of the circadian rhythm in our bodies. Generally quoted as 2:00 am and 2:00 pm, this happens to everyone. It is one’s own curiosity to decide whether to take a short nap and perhaps revive the forgotten perfect rhythm of our biological clock, or fight it off!
Herbal Sedatives trigger sleep
– Instead of using research chemicals to fight sominpathies, which in turn create subsequent drug abuse, using herbal teas and concoctions is a healthy way to help your sleep cycle without fail. While herbs like chamomile, reduces anxiety and relaxes the body, herbs such as hops cause a surge in the melatonin production, to result in drowsiness in the body.
Carbohydrate sometime before bedtime induces sleep
– When taken hours prior to the bedtime, having a large intake of carbohydrates can help in fastening a person’s ability to sleep. Upon consumption of carbohydrates, insulin is produced in higher amounts, which in turn, fights the amino acids that inhibit production of Tryptophan. Thus, carbohydrates increase the rate of the sleep promoting amino acid, Tryptophan to provide deep sleep.
Iron rich food can heal Sleep Apnea and Restless Leg Syndrome
– One of the major, but hidden causes of the fatal sleep disorders called sleep apnea and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is iron deficiency. Without enough iron in the body, oxygenation of blood is limited, which results in creating a gateway for the somnipathies of the likes of sleep apnea, narcolepsy and RLS.
Milk is not a trigger (scientifically) but a placebo to sleep
– As milk has Tryptophan amino acids, it is a positive trigger to sleep. However, only if you consume 2-3 gallons of milk can you reap the complete sleep effects induced by Tryptophan in milk. In fact, a majority of people consume a glass of milk nowadays, without knowing this threshold limit behind milk Tryptophan, thus making it a placebo.
Avoid Spicy, Fatty and Protein rich foods to help you sleep
– Spicy food elevates the body temperature, disrupts the Stage 2, 3 & 4 of sleep by creating indigestion, then creates, sleeping zapping effects (minor spastic electrical shocks experienced in the brain, which forces the sleeper to awaken), heart burns and reflux (ejection of the chewed food immediately ejected).
– Fatty foods not only add to not letting the body fall into deep sleep, but also make a vicious cycle behind it. After eating fatty food before bedtime, you enter a short drowsiness with intense heartburn owing to the elevated heat of the body. When a person is hungry, he or she craves for fatty food, which only makes him crave high-sugar diet for the next day. Fatty foods also create a fragmented session of sleep, occasional insomnia and daytime drowsiness.
– Proteins are never bad, but the wrong protein intake is definitely serious! The right protein is Tryptophan while the wrong one is Tyramine. For example, if you have cheese (Tyramine) without crackers (Tryptophan), then surely, your circadian rhythm will go wrong and create many sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy and RLS.
Apart from the above, many foods can resolve and regulate the biological clock of our body by enhancing the sleep cycle. Potassium is another element in food that can kill your sleep, if not taken in proper amounts!
What Food helps you sleep?
The best example of a natural elixir is the banana, also known as the ‘pill in a peel’, which is loaded with potassium and Vitamin b6 (serotonin-Tryptophan)! Some foods like bananas are:
Herbs that make you sleep
Apart from the food, another brilliant way of treating the somnipathies naturally is by using herbs. Following are some herbal ways to help you sleep naturally:
Some Beverages/ Foods that help you sleep
Following are examples of certain foods and beverages that a layman consumes without knowing the merits or demerits:
Foods That Kill Your Sleep
Following are some of the most common or favourite foods, that surely cannot be avoided, thanks to our sensitive taste buds, but can be used appropriately. If you can avoid these foods and beverages before bedtime, you will have a warm and tight sleep, guaranteed!
Apart from the above, all smoked meat also contains Tyramine in them. It is always advisable to know what you consume to aid your body, if at all your circadian rhythm goes wrong. Now that we have zillions of empirical and anecdotal proofs from Science, Eating Right is definitely the untold secret behind Sleeping Right!