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Eating for Slumber: Food to Help You Sleep Better

Learn which foods can make falling asleep easier.

Cereal is a good evening snack

Have you ever tossed and turned from late evening till early morning, wondering when sleep would come? Have you ever simply stared at the ceiling, wondering why you were still awake? Have you ever wondered if you should have taken medications, or if there is food to help sleep come easier and better to you?

Insomnia is a problem many people face, but it is not incurable. This sleep disorder can be caused by anxiety, depression, fear, or physiological aspects that may appear to make the insomnia occur for no reason at all. Although confused with insomnia, the inability to sleep undisturbed is a similar condition, but it is associated with the inability of the brain to take the body to the deepest level of sleep.

There are different medications that can ease or remove insomnia, and they are prescribed according to the underlying cause. If you are uncomfortable with medication, however, there are other equally if not more successful techniques to help you sleep, as well as to keep you sleeping comfortably. Based on research, and supported by anecdotal evidence, there is actually food to help you sleep better. Better eating for better sleep begins with timing of meals.

To understand how to use food to help sleep come easily, you need to understand what eating and digestion do to the body. When you ingest foods, you take in varying amounts of four important biological molecules: nucleic acids, fats or lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. These molecules, especially fats and carbohydrates, are good sources of energy. If the energy goes unused, the body converts it into heat. Carbohydrates can also increase the amount of serotonin, a brain hormone that promotes sleep.

If you consume a large meal before you go to bed, your body will take a long time digesting it. Moreover, if you have a meal within two hours before your bed time, you will go to bed with a relatively higher body temperature, making it harder for you to go to sleep. Doctors will often recommend larger meals during the day, when you need the energy to function; and smaller, lighter meals at night, when you need your body to relax completely.


Best choices for evening snacks are discussed on page 2 of Eating for Slumber

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