The activity of the organism is not negligible in terms of food intake. So there are foods that promote sleep and others that make us stay awake. Some foods reduce blood pressure and heart rate, rather do not stimulate the general metabolism and thus facilitate the slipping into sleep. Conversely, the ingested food can put the body in a higher degree of activity and thus make it difficult to fall asleep.
Positive influence of nutrition
In addition to the type of food is of course also their amount of importance. An overly full stomach is as unfavorable for the night's sleep as a growling stomach. Allow at least two hours between your last meal and bed rest and avoid bloating in the evening. The following tips will help you to take advantage of the positive effects of food.
Classic sleeping aid: the warm honey milk. The calcium in the milk has a calming effect on the body. It favors the relaxation of the muscles and also counteracts a nervous tension. In addition, the milk contains protein, which also has a calming effect.
The ingredients of honey should also have a soporific effect. However, this should only be used in small quantities. Add some almonds and cinnamon to your honey milk - this promotes the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Alcohol in moderation
Alcohol in small amounts makes most people tired. Higher amounts of alcohol have the opposite effect.
- Beer: In addition to alcohol, the hops contained in beer also have a calming effect. However, the drink should not be taken too cold as the body then has to produce energy to warm it up to body temperature. You should not drink more than 3 dl.
- Wine: In addition to the alcoholic red wine has additional calming effects. The numerous ingredients (tannins, phenols, dyes, etc.) help to relieve stress, which is often the cause of sleep problems. However, you should not approve more than 2 dl. By the way: White wine (and sparkling wine) is stimulating, unlike red wine, not sleep-inducing.
A drink with the right herbal mixture can have an amazing effect. The effects of the individual plants have been known for centuries and now also scientifically proven. They either have a direct soporific or calming, mood- and nerve-stabilizing effect.
The following plants are effective: lemon balm, valerian, hops, lavender, passion flower, St. John's wort and kava. Caution: do not drink black or green tea - these contain, like coffee and coke, stimulating caffeine.
The effect of this fruit is probably its positive influence on neurotransmitters. The tryptophan contained in the banana increases the body's own serotonin level. This fabric is mood-enhancing and tension-releasing - it is easier to fall asleep, the quality of sleep promoted. Cachew and sunflower seeds also contain a lot of tryptophan.
Especially in recent times, nutritional methods are popular, which recommend - in the sense of a food combining - high-carbohydrate foods in the morning and protein-rich food in the evening. The thesis behind this is that protein - in contrast to carbohydrates - does not stimulate nocturnal insulin production, which in turn favors the storage of fat.
Whether this method actually leads to a calmer sleep is controversial. Other experts believe that foods with complex carbohydrates (such as wholemeal bread or potatoes) promote the release of the hormone serotonin and thus quiet sleep.
The intake of certain foods before falling asleep may well have psychological backgrounds: By eating or drinking a "ritual" is initiated, which is linked in the subconscious with sleeping. However, you can also use other rituals to usher in the end of the day, for example a short evening walk or reading some pages.
Negative influence of the diet
In addition to a too full belly, some foods hinder sleep. The following foods should be avoided before bed:
Caffeinated drinks, nicotine
These stimulants increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase the activity. For this reason, do not use coffee, coke, black tea and cigarettes in the evening and possibly in the afternoon.
High doses of alcohol
Large amounts of alcoholic beverages cause anesthesia-like condition rather than a sound sleep ("sleep like a stone"). The consequence of this is that this condition wears off as the alcohol level goes down and you then have to fall asleep "properly" again. Deep sleep and dream phases get confused, sleep is less restful. No wonder that you feel like a wheelchair after an alcohol-rich evening in the morning.
Fat and sugar rich foods
The digestion of large amounts of fat is associated with the body with considerable effort. As a result, the cycle must work intensified again. A high blood sugar level also acts as a signal for the organism to stimulate the metabolism. The energy provided has to be "processed" in some way - it is either stored, burned or put into motion.
White wine and sparkling wine
Both have a stimulating effect despite the alcohol. In addition, plenty of acidity is present in both drinks.
Oranges or tangerines should not be eaten immediately before bedtime. The fruit acid (also in the form of vitamin C = ascorbic acid) stimulates the circulation. The body counteracts the supply of acid and thus the lowering of the pH buffering. This compensation requires the activation of various mechanisms. The same applies to other acidic foods such as gherkins.
- Lush meals at bedtime are detrimental to the process of falling asleep. In addition to insulin, many more hormones are released, which bring the body "out of the peace".
- But: an empty stomach is just as hindering. The feeling of hunger and the movements of the stomach are a constant reminder that you should eat. In addition, such a condition is not just the mood beneficial.