Diet for insomnia

The activity of the organism is not insignificantly related to food intake. There are foods that promote sleep and others that tend to keep us awake. Some foods lower blood pressure and heart rate, do not stimulate the general  metabolism  and thus promote the transition to sleep. Conversely, certain foods consumed can also put the body into a higher level of activity and thus make it more difficult to  fall asleep  . We give you tips on how you can influence your sleep through nutrition.

Positive influence of nutrition: 6 tips

There are some foods that can help you find peace and quiet at night and sleep soundly. The following tips will help you to take advantage of the positive effects of food.

1. Milk with honey for calming

Classic sleeping aid: warm honey milk. The  calcium  in  milk  has a calming effect on the body. It promotes relaxation of the muscles and also counteracts nervous tension. The milk also contains protein, which has an additional calming effect.

The ingredients of honey are also said to have a sleep-inducing effect. However,  honey should only  be used  in small amounts . Add some  almonds and cinnamon to your honey milk  – this promotes the production of  melatonin , the sleep hormone.

2. Sleepy tea

A drink with the right blend of herbs can have amazing effects. The effects of the individual plants have been known for centuries and have now also been scientifically proven. They either have a direct soporific effect or have a calming, mood- and nerve-stabilizing effect.

The following plants are effective for insomnia:

  • lemon balm
  • valerian
  • hop
  • Lavender
  • Passionsblume
  • Johannis herbs
  • Kava

Caution:  Do not drink black or green tea – like  coffee  and cola, these contain stimulating caffeine.

3. Bananas relieve tension

The effect of this fruit probably lies in its positive influence on neurotransmitters. The tryptophan   contained  in the  banana increases the body’s  serotonin level . This substance has  a mood-enhancing and tension-relieving effect  – falling asleep is made easier and the quality of sleep is promoted.

Cashew and sunflower seeds also contain a lot of tryptophan.

4. Food components affecting sleep

Especially recently, nutritional methods have become popular that recommend carbohydrate-rich foods in the morning and protein-rich foods in the evening. The thesis behind this is that protein – in contrast to carbohydrates – does not boost the nocturnal production of insulin, which in turn promotes the storage of fat.

Whether this method actually leads to a more peaceful sleep is controversial. Other experts believe that complex carbohydrate foods (such as  whole wheat bread  or  potatoes ) promote the release of the hormone serotonin, which in turn promotes restful sleep.

5. Alcohol in moderation

Alcohol in small amounts makes most people tired. Instead, higher amounts of alcohol have the opposite effect.

  • Beer:  In addition to the alcohol, the hops contained in beer also have a calming effect. However, the drink should not be taken too cold, as the body then has to produce energy to warm it up to body temperature. You should not drink more than 300 milliliters.
  • Wine:  In addition to the alcoholic effect, red wine also has other calming effects. The numerous ingredients (tannins, phenols, dyes, etc.) have a supportive effect against states of tension, which are often the cause of sleep problems. However, you should not allow yourself more than 200 milliliters. By the way: In contrast to red wine, white wine and sparkling wine have a stimulating effect and do not promote sleep.

6. Introduce rituals

Eating certain foods before falling asleep can also  have a psychological background  : Eating or drinking initiates a “ritual” that is subconsciously linked to sleeping.

However, you can also ring in the end of the day with other rituals, for example a short evening walk or reading a few pages.

Negative influence of diet

While some foods are conducive to restful sleep, other foods impede sleep. Here are five foods you should avoid before bed:

1. Caffeinated drinks and nicotine increase activity

These stimulants increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase activity. You should therefore avoid coffee, cola, black  tea  and cigarettes in the evening and, if necessary, in the afternoon.

2. Foods high in fat and sugar make digestion difficult

Digesting large amounts of fat takes a lot of effort for the body. As a result, the cycle has to work harder again.

A high blood sugar level also acts as a signal for the organism to boost metabolism. The energy provided must be “processed” in some form – it is either stored,  burned  or converted into movement.

3. Restless sleep from high doses of alcohol

Large amounts of alcoholic beverages are more likely to produce a narcotic-like state than sound sleep. The consequence of this is that this state subsides when the alcohol level decreases and one then has to fall asleep “properly” again.

Deep sleep and dream phases get mixed up, sleep is less restful. It’s no wonder that after a night full of alcohol you feel exhausted in the morning.

4. White wine and sparkling wine have a stimulating effect

Both have a stimulating effect despite the alcohol. In addition, there is also plenty of acid in both drinks.

5. Citrus fruits stimulate circulation

Oranges or tangerines should not be consumed immediately before bedtime. The fruit acid (also in the form of  vitamin C  = ascorbic acid) stimulates the circulation. The body counteracts the supply of acid and thus the lowering of the pH level with buffering. This compensation requires the activation of various mechanisms.

The same applies to other acidic foods such as pickles.

It also depends on the quantity

In addition to the type of food, the quantity is of course also important: hearty meals before going to bed have a negative effect on the process of falling asleep. In addition to  insulin  , many other hormones are released, which disturb the body.

But: An empty and growling stomach is also a hindrance to a good night’s sleep. The feeling of hunger and the movements of the stomach are constant reminders that one should eat. In addition, such a state is not exactly conducive to mood.

 There should be at least two hours between your last meal and bed rest  . Also, avoid foods that cause flatulence in the evening.

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