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Sleep Well With Sleepezy

Can't sleep? Try these tips
July 10, 2007

A warm welcome to you

Although we all know to avoid caffeine in the evenings if we want to sleep soundly, there are other foods and drinks which may have an effect on our sleep. I've listed the good and bad ones below, but first a bit more on caffeine.

Have you ever wondered why your partner can have a late night coffee without it seeming to affect their sleep, while you can't even enjoy one after dinner? While it hardly seems fair, there's a couple of reasons why this happens.

Your partner may not have a sensitivity to caffeine. Caffeine has no or very little effect on some people, or...
Your partner may just have good sleep genes or not suffer with stress (half their luck!)

People's bodies eliminate caffeine at different rates. If your system is slow to get rid of caffeine, even a mid morning coffee can affect your sleep at night.

Don't assume it's ok to drink decaffeinated coffee or tea at night either. Even decaffeinated beverages can contain enough caffeine to cause a restless night's sleep. The same goes for chocolate unfortunately (No one should have to give up chocolate, just have it at lunchtime!)

How about alcohol, isn't it supposed to help us go to sleep?

Alcohol is a strange substance. It may actually help us fall asleep but can also wake us half way through the night. This is due to alcohol leaving the body - no I'm not suggesting you have alcohol at lunchtime!

So now I've ruined your day, here's a list of foods that can help you sleep.

Bananas, turkey, figs, milk & yoghurt, nut butters, tuna and dates all contain tryptophan which induces sleep.

Carbohydrates eaten at least an hour before bed will calm you and let you doze off faster. If you like rice, Jasmine rice is particularly effective. Healthier choices are brown rice, oats and anything made whole wheat.

And those to avoid..

The main offenders - coffee, tea, alcohol and cola drinks.

Bacon, chocolate, sugar, cheese, eggplant, potatoes, ham, sauerkraut, sausages, spinach, tomatoes, and wine. These foods all contain tyramine, which induces the release of norepinephrine, a brain stimulant. Don't have these just before bed.

Foods high in sugar such as chocolate (again!), ice cream etc. They raise glucose levels in the blood and may cause a surge in energy levels.

Any food that's hard to digest such as fatty or spicy foods.

Don't have a high protein snack to close to bedtime. This can block the synthesis of serotonin, making you feel restless. Have a high carb snack instead.

By now you're probably wishing you'd never read this, but not all these foods affect everyone. If you have problems falling asleep try cutting these foods out (or have dinner earlier in the evening), then add them back one by one. You'll soon find out if your sleep disturbances are diet related!

Until next month, my very best wishes to you.

Wendy

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