Foods To Avoid Before Bed


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Updated: 8/01/2012 2:27 pm Published: 7/30/2012 3:19 pm


Many suffer from insomnia, but could what you eat be affecting how you sleep? Certain foods are sure to give you a better quality of sleep. Megan Gilchrist, dietitian at St. John Healthy Lifestyles said any foods with tryptophan are good to eat before bed such as beans, leafy vegetables, turkey and other meats. "The weight of evidence indicates that L-tryptophan in doses of 1 g or more produces an increase in rated subjective sleepiness and a decrease in sleep latency (time to sleep)," she said. Foods to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, high spicy foods and all liquids at least two hours before bed. Below is a guide to eating and drinking before bed.

For more about St. John Healthy Lifestyles, visit www.stjohnhealthclub.com.  










1. Things that May Help with Sleep:

a. Tryptophan- a study published in Journal of Psychiatric Research states “The weight of evidence indicates that L-tryptophan in doses of 1 g or more produces an increase in rated subjective sleepiness and a decrease in sleep latency (time to sleep).”

b. Tryptophan in an Essential AA that is eventually converted to serotonin in the body, which is a brain neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep patterns

c. Foods Containing Tryptophan:
i. Leafy Greens
ii. Turkey and other meats
iii. Beans, esp soybeans
iv. Nuts and seeds

d. Having a snack before bedtime, not a heavy meal

2. Things to Avoid:

a. Caffeine-try to eliminate within 2-4 hours before bedtime to help promote a good night’s sleep; watch for hidden sources of caffeine like chocolate

b. Alcohol-Article recently conducted found that alcohol may cause wakefulness during sleep, even more so for women vs. men; may help fall asleep initially but causes restless sleeping during the night

c. High Fat, Spicy Foods-can cause indigestion and heart burn, keeping you up all night

d. Avoid fluids-stop drinking liquids at least 2 hrs before bedtime to help prevent frequent bathroom trips in the middle of the night.


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