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Foods to Avoid at Bedtime

There are many reasons why other people may sleep better or worse than you. It could be because your mattress needs replacing, you may have insomnia, you might have a sleep disorder or it might have something to do with those late night snacks. In this article, we look at different types of food and suggest foods that might help you sleep and those that may have you tossing and turning regardless of how many sheep you count.

Check out the two lists below, which suggest what to eat and what not to eat before bed. If you think it will help, print them out and stick them onto your fridge!

Foods that may improve your sleep

Here are 6 great foods you might like to consider adding to your diet as they may help your body regulate its sleep cycle.

Bananas A great source of potassium and magnesium. These two essential vitamins help your body with muscle relaxation1.

Cherries A great source of antioxidants, plus they contain high levels of melatonin1. (See below for information on melatonin.)

Spinach Like bananas, this fab green vegetable is full of potassium and magnesium. And, like cherries, it also contains melatonin1.

Fish Another great source of protein and thought to be helpful when it comes to regulating your sleep cycle1.

Almonds Not only are almonds a great healthy snack, they also contain magnesium2.

Oats Grains in oatmeal can raise your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy, plus they have a heap of melatonin2.

Facts about melatonin

By the Sleep Health Foundation1

1. A hormone that’s produced by the pineal gland in your brain.

2. Known to help regulate cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

3. Levels start to go up in the evening to help establish sleep conditions.

4. Is used to treat insomnia.

Foods to avoid before you sleep

So now that you’re aware of foods that may help you sleep, or regulate your sleep, it’s time to look at foods you should probably try to avoid before you snooze.

Coffee As caffeine is a stimulant, you should probably avoid an afternoon latte or after-dinner espresso3

Chocolate Not only does chocolate contain caffeine, it’s also rich in an amino acid called tyramine, which the body converts to noradrenaline. And, just as it sounds, this is a stimulant3.

Cheeseburger or pizza Like most takeaway meals, these are high in fat, which means your body may have to concentrate on digesting food rather than sleeping3.

Alcohol While it may make you sleepy initially, too much alcohol often decreases REM sleep. It can also cause dehydration so you may wake up because you’re feeling thirsty3.

Nicotine Like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant, so it probably won’t be helpful if you’re after a good night’s sleep3.

Tea Like coffee, tea, including some herbal tea, contains caffeine4. Perhaps a warm cup of milk (without a sweetener) might be a better option before bed!

Catch some Zzzz's

Hopefully, now that you’re armed with all this knowledge, you’ll toss and turn less and catch a heap more zzzs. If you keep an eye on what you eat before bedtime and your sleep still isn’t satisfactory, we suggest you make an appointment with your doctor or a sleep expert. 

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