Stop Counting Sheep!

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Six Simple and Easy Dietary Advices That May Help You Sleep

Today, a good night’s sleep is used as a vital sign of health by medical professionals. Sleeping is one of the activities we are looking forward everyday as this, same as food, energize us for our planned activities. We spend almost one-third of our lives asleep. Yet, others may not have this luxury. Some people have thought of taking medications to help them sleep, but these drugs have side effects. There are other ways to help you sleep better.

If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try doing these small tweaks in your diet, which are all natural and adverse-effect-free.

1. Limit caffeine intake

Most of us know that a cup of coffee in the morning will keep us awake. This is due to the chemical substance, caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that changes the chemistry in your brain. When you consume caffeine, the brain thinks some sort of emergency is happening around you. Thus, it will release ‘adrenaline’ or the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. This hormone causes your pupils to dilate, your heart to beat faster, and your blood to flow faster into your muscles to fuel some action. Sources of caffeine includes coffee, tea, chocolates, and soda beverages. You may want to limit your coffee intake to about one cup per day taken in the morning.

2. Drink a warm glass of milk

A warm cup of milk can keep us calm. Yet more than that, milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid, that helps in making serotonin, a relaxing mood hormone. Serotonin also helps your body to make melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep cycles. Other good sources of tryptophan are poultry and turkey. However, for people who are lactose intolerant, skip this advice as you may experience bloating and diarrhea that will harm your sleeping time.

3. Eat complex carbohydrates and avoid simple sugar

A consensus statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine tells us that an increased intake of fiber promotes deep sleep; while increased intake of simple sugar is associated with more arousal in sleeping pattern. Health professional also emphasize the fact that healthy diet and lifestyle is interwoven with the quality of sleep. Thus, nutritious meals that include unprocessed foods (e.g. whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables) and less intake of simple sugar and saturated fat are prerequisites to a good quality of sleep.

4. Avoid large meal before going to bed

A heavy meal can lead to heartburn, which can disrupt your sleep and keep you awake. Try having 1/3 to ½ of your plate for your dinner.

5. Avoid eating too much spicy foods

For some people, spicy and heavily spiced foods can lead to stomach discomfort which can disturb your sleeping patter.

6. Avoid drinking alcohol

It is true that alcohol have a sedative effect that may help a person to fall asleep. Yet, scientific studies show that alcohol may not be very beneficial for a good quality of sleep. In fact, healthy people consuming high dose of alcohol are more likely to experience lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep than others who do not consume alcohol. Moreover, people who consume alcohol before going to sleep may even experience daytime sleepiness.

A lot of us sees sleep as a reset button. An end to a bad day and a start for a new opportunity to do the day right. You do not want to waste this by counting sheep. Instead, count the tips above and follow them. You’ll be off the dreamland in no time.


Anna Christine P. Rome
Karen Ramos