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Eat right to sleep well

Last updated on: December 7, 2011 17:34 IST

Eat right to sleep well

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Gud2Eat.com

What you eat everyday definitely affects your sleep. Some foods calm down your brain where as some foods stimulate your brain to perk up.

Foods that contain amino acid Tryptophan help you to sleep whilst foods that contain Tyrosine or Caffeine in food and drinks can perk up the brain or keep you awake.

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Carbohydrate

You need to include carbohydrates in your night meal as that makes Tryptophan (amino acid) more available to the brain. Tryptophan is used to produce neurotransmitters Serotonin and Melatonin that help you relax and sleep.

Insulin is released when you eat a carb rich meal, which helps clear the blood of amino acids that compete with Tryptophan to reach the brain.


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Complex carbohydrate and some protein

Bedtime snacks that contain complex carbohydrates, protein, and calcium help you to sleep well. Calcium helps the brain use the Tryptophan to produce Melatonin.

Dairy products, which contain carbohydrates, Tryptophan and calcium, is a perfect sleep-inducing food. Note it takes about an hour for Tryptophan in your food to reach the brain so time your meal or snack accordingly.


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Light meals

High-fat meals or large servings may help you sleep easily but digesting a big meal will tax your digestive system leading to poorer quality of sleep.

Eat light evening meals that contains carbohydrates, Tryptophan and calcium a perfect food combination for restful sleep.


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Bed time snacks

Simple bed time snacks that help you sleep include foods that are high in carbohydrates and contain Tryptophan and Calcium. Whole-grain cereal with milk; tofu with peanuts; oatmeal and raisin cookies with a glass of milk.

Peanut butter sandwich; Note it takes about an hour for Tryptophan in your food to reach the brain so time your meal or snack accordingly.


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These meals are good for better sleep

Meals that help you sleep better are Pasta with Cheese; Scrambled Eggs and Cheese; Tofu stir fry;

Hummus with Whole Wheat Pita Bread; Seafood Pasta with Cheese; Chicken with Veggies Tuna salad sandwich; Beans and Rice with Yogurt for dessert.


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These foods help you snooze

Many foods push you towards an afternoon snooze and are foods that are rich in Tryptophan that helps sleep better.

Examples include Whole grain foods and Rice; Dairy Products (Cottage Cheese, Cheese, Milk); Soy Products (Tofu, Soybean Nuts, Soy Milk); Beans, Lentils and Hummus; Peanuts and Hazelnuts; Sesame Seeds and Sunflower Seeds; Eggs, Meats, Poultry and Seafood.


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Simple Carbohydrate snacks do not help you to sleep

Sugar rich foods have candies, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, have a stimulating effect and prevent you from sleeping well.

Sugar rich meals or snacks at night leads to a roller-coaster cycle of plummeting blood sugar followed by the release of stress hormones that will actually keep you awake.


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Difficult to sleep if you are on a high protein diet

If you eat only a protein rich meal without carbs you may have difficulty sleeping as protein foods that contain Tyrosine (amino acid) perks up the brain.

Choose a protein rich evening meal plus some complex carbohydrates so you can control sleep well. Eat a high protein with reduced carbohydrates content only for breakfast or lunch and not dinner as it will perk up your brain.


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Caffeine affects sleep

Foods or beverages that contain Caffeine tend to keep you alert and awake as within 15 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee the adrenaline level of your blood rises that triggers an increase in heart rate, breathing rate, urinary output, and production of stomach acids.

Actually caffeine reverses all processes that lead you to sleep.


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