Eat, Drink and Be Sleepy: But Not That Way

Eat a big meal in the late hours and consume a bunch of booze, and for sure, you’ll be off to slumber-land, but that’s not really the type of sleep you want to experience very often. When the booze wears off, you’ll be wide awake, and the full tummy will make it hard to get back to sleep or even undergo a normal sleep cycle.

Rather, when we say “Eat, Drink and Be Sleepy,” we’re referring to moderation, wise food choices and common sense.  Any type of stimulative drinking (read: alcohol) should be kept in moderation and ceased hours before bedtime. Ditto with heavy eating.

Now, if you want a drink to help you sleep, try chamomile tea (decaffeinated), and if you need a snack, think tryptophan, so have a half a turkey sandwich, or milk.

“A lot of people know what not to eat — a heavy meal, spicy foods, caffeine,” says YouBeauty sleep expert Shelby Freedman Harris, Psy.D. “But I have a lot of patients who snack all night or don’t eat at all before bed, both of which can disrupt sleep. They don’t know that a small snack is okay and which foods, besides turkey, contain tryptophan.”

“Things like bananas, nuts, seeds, honey and eggs typically have more tryptophan in them,” she explains.

Unless indulging in tryptophan snacks, eating and drinking should be finished a few hours before you hit the sack and drift off into dreams-ville.

Now, in addition to avoiding all alcohol and heavy foods close to bedtime, what are the substances that can interfere with your sleep even when you consume them at a normal dinnertime?

Spicy foods for dinner, no matter how far in advance of hitting the sack, can cause digestive problems leading to sleep problems. Hard-to-digest proteins like beef should also be consumed well in advance of bedtime. Even though water is essential for your health and hydration, you should even cease water consumption by 8 p.m. or so. Otherwise, you can find yourself arising too often to relieve yourself.

Even a bit of chocolate before bedtime, as delicious as that may be, can be a caffeinated monster keeping you awake. Likewise, prescription medications and over-the-counter diet pills may contain caffeine that can interfere with your sleep. Check the bottle, or do online research about the prescription medications you’re taking, and then talk to your doctor about the best time to take them.

So, it is possible to “Eat, Drink and Be Sleepy,” but you have to use some simple guidelines that avoid overindulgence and skew toward those food and drink products that promote rather than inhibit good sleep.

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