We all know that drinking coffee before bed will make it hard to fall asleep, and that drinking warm milk will help us fall asleep faster — at least according to our mothers. But did you know that there are plenty of other foods that can impact our slumber? By making a few small changes in your diet, you may not be cured of your insomnia, sure, but you’ll be much better off for it. Check out some of the best — and worst — foods for a good night’s rest.
1. Good: Walnuts & Almonds
Almonds contain hefty doses of magnesium, tryptophan and melatonin, a trifecta of ideal sleep-promoting aids. Try eating a handful an hour or so before bed.
2. Bad: Grapefruit.
There’s nothing like heartburn for keeping you up all night, and grapefruit increases your stomach’s acidity. If you’d like to avoid heartburn, stay away from grapefruit and other citrus fruits and juices before hitting the sack.
3. Good: Oatmeal.
Most of us only eat the stuff in the morning, but the benefits of eating oatmeal before bed might change your habits. Oatmeal is full of plenty of sleep-promoting nutrients, like magnesium, potassium calcium and phosphorous.
4. Bad: Celery.
No, really! Celery is certainly a healthy veggie, but it’s not best to eat it before bed. Why? Well, celery is a natural diuretic, and, unless you want to disrupt your slumber with a middle of the night bathroom run, it’s best to avoid it.
Other Natural Diuretics to Avoid Before Bed: Ginger, Parsley.
5. Good: Raspberries & Tart Cherries.
Melatonin is a popular supplement for sleep aid, and there are a few, though not many, natural sources of the stuff. Your best bets are raspberries and tart cherries.
6. Bad: Greasy & Fried Foods.
People who eat fatty, greasy and fried foods in the evening tend to get less productive sleep than those who don’t. Your stomach is working extra hard to digest the stuff, and can lead to indigestion and heart burn. It’s fine to indulge in calorie-rich foods every once in a while, but try to do so at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
7. Good: Bananas.
With plenty of potassium and magnesium, bananas are an excellent late night snack and natural muscle relaxer. It also contains tryptophan, the same amino acid that gives turkey its famous sleep-inducing reputation.
8. Bad: Spicy Foods.
Spicy foods will certainly take a toll on your gut, but they also may impact your sleep. It’s best to avoid spicy meals right before hitting the sack.
by Katie Waldeck
Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.
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