Whoever heard of eating to sleep? Farfetched as it may sound, what you eat throughout the day does affect your sleep at night, especially what you eat after dusk.
As in all healthy eating guides, a good sleep also requires that you eat light, oil free meals and snacks and stick to small amounts. Although a heavy dinner followed by a thick cup of coffee or alcohol may sound like a storybook ending to a perfect day – remember that you’ll miss out on the sweet dreams bit if you have to spend the night staring at the ceiling.
Dinner should be a light meal at least two hours before your usual bedtime. If you feel peckish before going to bed, a glass of warm skimmed milk, small quantities of whole grain low sugar cereals can do the trick.
Research reveals that the amino acid tryptopan aids in the production of serotonin by the brain, which is essential for mood regulation and sleep. Deficiencies of this chemical have been linked to insomnia, nerve disorders and depression.
Foods containing tryptopan or tryptopan supplements are now being recommended by experts. What is more, tryptopan cannot be absorbed well by the body in the presence of other amino acids present in proteins. This basically means that you should not club proteins with tryptopan if you want its full benefits. Again, calcium present in milk, soy products aids in the absorption of this amino acid.
Foods that are high in tryptopan include milk, nuts, fish, chicken, turkey, and soya products. Carbohydrates such as pasta and pastries increase the levels on tryptopans, but before you start tucking in these, remember that too much carbohydrates or fats are again harmful.
To optimise your effort, take tryptopan containing substances on an empty stomach, and not with any other proteins. You can also take supplements in the form of 5-HTA.