We all know that coffee isn’t exactly a nightcap.
But did you know it’s not the only food stimulant that could keep you tossing and turning when you should be snoozing?
Take chocolate, for example. While dark chocolate is loaded with cancer and disease fighting antioxidants, it’s also a hidden source of caffeine, as well as the stimulant theobromine.
So instead of sweet dreams, you may be lying awake thinking about all the things you need to do the next day. If you find yourself craving a chocolate fix too late in the evening try carob instead. Carob is a great chocolate substitute that comes complete with its own antioxidants, but without all that caffeine.
Could a tomato be keeping you up at night?
Another food “stimulant” that surprises most folks is the tomato.
Tomatoes contain an amino acid called tyramine that can cause your brain to go into overdrive. Eggplant, red wine and aged cheeses also contain tyramine.
So that glass of red before bed might not be such a good idea after all!
And sometimes it’s not just what we eat right before going to bed that messes up our sleep.
Eat slow to digest foods hours before bed
For example, some good-for-you foods, like broccoli, take longer to digest, as do steak or roast beef, fried foods and those high in fat.
It’s best, in fact, to eat early enough to allow three or four hours between a heavy meal and the time you hit the sack.
And if you really must have a late-night snack, there are a number of good food choices that won’t leave you lying awake counting sheep.
3 sleep friendly foods to try
Here are three great choices:
A natural sources of melatonin, cherries (as well as tart cherry juice) have been found in numerous studies to help people drift off to dreamland more efficiently.
2. Cottage cheese:
A good swap for an overly sweet bedtime snack, a bowl of cottage cheese may also help prevent nighttime acid reflux.
To get a good dose of the sleep-helping amino acid tryptophan, go for a handful of almonds before bedtime. This nut also contains magnesium, which may be helpful if you suffer from leg cramps at night.
As for a bedtime beverage, some chamomile tea or that old favorite a glass of warm milk might just hit the spot. But if you’re very sensitive to caffeine, be aware that even decaf beverages can contain trace amounts of the stimulant.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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