Foods and Tips to Help You Sleep Better.

As it’s Sleep Awareness Week, this post includes random facts about sleep, foods to eat and avoid and tips to help you sleep better.

Facts About Sleep.

  • New parents lose an average of 44 days of sleep, because of their newborns.
  • We can sleep with our eyes open.
  • Some people dream in black and white. A lot more did before colour televisions were invented.
  • We are the only mammals that can delay sleep. Other mammals must go to sleep when their bodies tells them to.
  • In 1964, Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days!
  • You can’t sneeze while sleeping.
  • The strangers in our dreams are not strangers. We’ve seen everyone before. The brain cannot create people, so it uses faces that have already been registered with it.
  • We grow 0.3 inches while sleeping. However, this is temporary as we shrink back down to normal after we’ve been awake for a few hours. When we sit or stand our cartilage discs are squeezed by gravity, like sponges.

Foods to Help You Sleep.

The following foods may help us to sleep better:-

  • Walnuts and Almonds. Both contain tryptophan – a sleep-enhancing amino acid, and magnesium which has been shown to relax our muscles.
  • Cheese. Again, contains tryptophan. However, don’t eat too much due to the high-fat content.
  • Tuna. High in vitamin B6 – critical for the production of melatonin which is responsible for regulating our body clocks. Other sources of this vitamin are chickpeas, bananas and salmon.
  • Cherry juice. Again, a source of melatonin and tryptophan. Drink 2 glasses of tart cherry juice every day.
  • Cereal. Wholegrains and oats, quinoa and buckwheat help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Chamomile tea. A natural, mild tranquillizer and sleep inducer.
  • Honey. Raw honey contains a perfect balance of fructose and glucose which helps the liver to produce a satisfactory amount of glycogen throughout the day and night; therefore promoting restful sleep.

Foods to Avoid that can Disrupt Sleep.

  • Caffeine. Don’t drink it after lunchtime.

Image from Tenor

  • Spicy foods. Don’t eat spicy food near bedtime.
  • Alcohol.
  • Foods high in fat. They mess with the production of orexin – a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle along with melatonin.

If you’re hungry before going to bed, eat a light snack such as a bowl of cereal, cheese and crackers or peanut butter on toast.

Tips to Help You Sleep.

  • Try to get in natural light during the day by going outside, opening up windows or blinds or use a light therapy box.
  • Exercise can promote solid sleep but don’t do any intense exercises too close to your bedtime.
  • Make sure your mattress and pillows give proper support to your back to avoid aches and pains.
  • Avoid light disruption. Use blackout curtains over your windows or wear a sleep mask to block light and prevent it from interfering with your rest.

Image from Tenor

  • Drown out any noise with a fan or wear earplugs or headphones.
  • Sleep in a cooler room that is around 65°F.
  • Use essential oil like lavender in your room. You could use an infuser of drops on your pillow.
  • Set a fixed wake-up time and stick to it.
  • If you nap, don’t do too long after lunch. The best time is the early afternoon. And don’t nap longer than 20 minutes.
  • Have a consistent routine before bed. Start winding down for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Do some quiet reading, low- impact stretching, listen to soothing music or relaxation exercises.
  • Disconnect from devices. The blue light emitted from tablets etc. can delay the sleep-inducing melatonin, which can increase alertness and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. Therefore, either avoid looking at bright screens about 2 to 3 hours before bed or download a blue light reduction app on your device. Or, read an actual book!
  • If you can’t get to sleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing in low light. Don’t check the time.
  • Finally, talk to your doctor if your sleep problem is getting worse, affecting your health and safety or if it occurs alongside other unexplained health issues.

At times, I struggle with insomnia, which can last for weeks. I find during these times, my moods and energy levels fluctuate and my concentration worsens. For example, I have gone to a cupboard in my kitchen, only to forget, a second later, what I’m looking for!

Other times, I’ve felt spaced out and disconnected from others. I feel even worse reading the horror stories about the negative effects of insomnia on our health. However, I’m not describing THOSE here.

Experts say we should aim for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. But, everyone’s different. If I feel refreshed when I wake up and alert during the day, that’ll do for me. I don’t want to be kept awake by worrying about not sleeping!

Have you any other tips to sleep better? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

Sources: m.activebeat.com, alaskasleep.com, eatingwell.com, rd.com, sleepfoundation.org, sleepdoctor.com, health.harvard.edu, restonic.com

22 thoughts on “Foods and Tips to Help You Sleep Better.

    1. Absolutely true. Your spine compresses during the day so at night, it stretches again.
      Sleeping with your eyes open sounds like something from a horror film, but it’s a real condition called nocturnal lagophthalmos. It occurs when the eyelids can’t close enough to cover the eye—either partially or fully. Surprisingly, the condition is quite common. http://www.sleep.org.

  1. That’s really interesting about dreaming in black & white.

    I’m a terrible sleeper. I try to do all the right things but it’s very rare I get more than about 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night. Room temperature is a very important point. I sleep much better in winter. Even though we have air conditioning, it would cost a fortune to cool our house to 65 degrees at night.

  2. Wow this is such an informative post! I had no idea that all of the faces in our dreams are people we have seen. That just goes to show that the human brain is so complex! And animals can’t delay sleep? 🤯

  3. Happy to know these amazing facts about sleep. And don’t drink soda at night, if you want to sleep as per your body clock.

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