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What To Eat Before Bed To Ensure A Great Night’s Sleep

Try these foods for a great sleep

We know about the lavender on the pillow and not to overdo it with the Netflix on the tablet.

But could snacking on the right foods before bedtime also be the key to a good’s night’s kip?

According to sleep expert Sammy Margo, it’s definitely worth a try, especially for the one in three of us who suffer from insomnia.

food can help you sleep

The author of The Good Sleep Guide, explained to the Mail Online that certain foods help us drift off, and the wrong ones can keep us up.

“While particular foods and drinks may feel warming, those that are spicy, caffeinated, or high in fat and protein can play havoc with our sleep,” she says.

“Lying down after eating a spice-laden meal can result in heartburn and a restless night. Fatty foods high in protein, like steak, digest slowly and may disturb our Circadian rhythm.”

So, here are her five recommendations to try before bed:

1. Bananas

Although generally considered an energy-boosting food, bananas are rich in magnesium which relaxes muscles and they also contain serotonin and melatonin, which encourage sleep.

2. Almonds

Known as a great source of healthy fats, almonds are also bursting with tryptophan and magnesium, “which both help to naturally reduce muscle and nerve function while also steadying your heart rhythm,” according to Margo.

3. Honey

Just one teaspoon of honey is enough to stimulate the release of melatonin in the brain and shut off orexin (which keeps us alert), thus helping you to wind down.

4. Oats

As well as being yet another food rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids which promote sleep-inducing melatonin, oats encourages insulin production and naturally raise blood sugar.

5. Turkey

One of the most famous sources of tryptophan, turkey is also a great source of protein and will make you feel full.

And here’s what to avoid:

1. Alcohol

Whilst you might find one glass of wine (or your drink of choice) helps you nod off, alcohol stops you falling into deep sleep.

2. Cheese

Ever heard people say they have strange dreams after eating lots of cheese?  Hard cheese contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine which actually makes the brain feel more alert. So despite our fondness for a post-dinner cheese-board, chowing down will only make it harder for you to fall asleep.

3. Spicy food

Ever had, ahem, digestion issues after a curry? As well as indigestion, chilli peppers contain capsaicin which makes it harder for your body to regulate temperature thus resulting in a less peaceful night’s sleep.

4. Fatty food

Fatty foods are hard for your stomach to digest and are more likely to cause heartburn which makes it more difficult to get to sleep.

5. Coffee

Perhaps obvious, the caffeine in coffee makes it a no-no before bed – the stimulant stays in your system for a long time and you can still be feeling the effects even ten hours later.

Written by James Graham

With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, The Carousel Editor James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum.

James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens.

He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea.

Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media.

When not in the Ed’s chair, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.

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