How Food and Drink Affect Your Sleep

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How Food and Drink Affect Your Sleep

What you eat and drink before bed can affect your sleep. For example, foods containing the amino acid tryptophan—a building block of the sleep-related chemical serotonin—could potentially make you drowsy, although evidence is mixed as to whether the amount in food is enough to change your sleep. Turkey is a well-known tryptophan source (and notorious cause of the post-Thanksgiving nap), but turkey is not unique. Other foods such as eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts contain roughly equal amounts of tryptophan. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain, so if you're eating a light snack before bed, you might try something like a few whole wheat crackers with a small amount of peanut butter, or cereal with milk. On the other hand, foods that tax or upset your stomach, such as fatty, fried, or spicy foods, are best avoided before sleep.

Alcohol might make you drowsy and help you fall asleep, but it can actually make it harder to sleep deeply and continuously throughout the night and should be avoided in the hours before bed. As you know, caffeine is a stimulant and it's effect on the body lasts many hours, so it is best not to consume it after the mid-afternoon.

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