Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. It helps you stay in shape, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and muscle and memory problems.
If you're experiencing difficulties falling asleep or don't sleep well, following the advice below will help you wake up happier, healthier and feeling completely refreshed.
Make breakfast the most abundant meal of your day. Digestion requires energy, so eating heavy foods at the end of the day forces the body to work overtime to process it, all while you're trying to fall asleep.
Be careful what you eat before bed. The combination of carbohydrates and proteins that contain tryptophan, such as those found in a serving of nonfat milk with whole wheat grains, will make you sleepier than if you eat just one of the two.
In the evening, eat a handful of cherries or drink a glass of cherry juice. The tasty fruits are rich in melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
A fish and seafood-based diet can help you sleep better. For example, tuna and shrimp contain lots of tryptophan, improving sleep quality.
Avoid fatty foods before bed. If you often suffer from indigestion, avoid citruses, mint, chocolate and carbonated drinks.
Before bed, avoid spicy foods as well. They raise body temperature which can reduce sleepiness. Plus they raise acid levels.
The monosodium glutamate that's added to many processed and canned foods can cause headaches and insomnia in some. If you suspect that this additive is keeping you awake, read your food labels carefully.
Save caffeine for mornings. It can remain in your system for hours after intake. So choose caffeine-free drinks and herbal tea in the afternoons.
Don't forget that chocolate, certain carbonated and energy drinks, some medications, black and green teas also contain caffeine.
Take the right vitamins and minerals. Obtaining the right amount of vitamins B6 and B12, calcium and iron can help you sleep well throughout the night.
Try magnesium. This mineral helps the body produce serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin.
Limit your intake of liquids several hours before bed. This way you'll reduce the need to get up and go to the bathroom throughout the night.
If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can help you sleep better. Studies show that overweight individuals who suffer from sleep apnea sleep better after they lose some weight.
Limit your alcohol intake to 3 hours before bed. It may make you drowsy at first but will prevent quality sleep later.