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The Right Diet for a Good Night’s Sleep

When you tell someone that you didn’t sleep well the night before, many will respond by asking what you ate. There are old myths about how your diet before bed can lead to certain kinds of dreams or certain kinds of sleep that go back thousands of years. For all the dismissiveness of some ancient wisdom, it does appear that there’s some truth behind this connection between what you eat and how you sleep.

Thanks to the advice at Silent Night Therapy, we’ve assembled some recommendations to make sure you catch up on all those z’s you’ve been missing out on lately.

To begin with, it appears you have to hit that sweet spot in your eating schedule in relation to your sleep. It’s best not to eat the last two to four hours before sleep, but you also have to avoid being hungry. This can lead to some challenges, which are best surmounted by eating healthy snack options. Silent Night recommends:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Peanut butter open-faced sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Bananas
  • Turkey

All of those are pretty healthy. They aren’t too high on the simple sugars and they can feel substantial in your stomach, allowing you to avoid eating too much and having some trouble falling asleep.

Just as important as what you should eat is what you shouldn’t. Once again, Silent Night is on the case for us. They say to avoid:

  • Pizza
  • Burgers
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate

Really, when you get down to it, you could simply say: don’t eat junk food and don’t drink. Pizza and burgers are heavy and hard to digest; chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) can be great at the right time and in the proportion, but the caffeine in chocolate isn’t going to do you any favors at bedtime.

Alcohol is the most surprising item on that list, particularly since it is often associated with helping individuals fall asleep. However, alcohol apparently actually makes it harder to fall asleep, and it keeps you from sleeping deeply once you do fall asleep. Drinking before bed may therefore make you feel more tired than you otherwise would in the morning.

Looking at the lists above, you can see how a little bit of focus on healthier, filling options and avoiding unhealthy options can make all the difference. This isn’t really surprising. As with the rest of your day, eating right helps you stay healthy and it helps your body work correctly.

So, next time you are feeling a bit hungry before heading off to count sheep, be sure to steer clear of the heavy leftovers with heavy fats, the chocolate bar, and the wine and spirits. Instead, go for the sort of food you already know work better for your body anyway. Enjoy a cup of yogurt, eat a banana, and then head off to get all of your 40 winks.

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