Do you suffer from a sleep disorder? Your diet may be the key to giving you a better night’s sleep. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the United States suffer from a wide variety of sleep disorders.
Studies show that certain foods tend to produce a more restful night’s sleep. Foods that you can pick up at any local grocery store that are likely to give you a deeper sleep are:
• Nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, etc.)
• Rice (or other forms of carbohydrates)
The secret to these foods are the vitamins they contain, as well as the hormones they help the brain produce. The old wives’ tale of drinking a warm glass of milk before bedtime is not all that inaccurate. Calcium is a natural sleep inducer, especially when consumed with magnesium, which can be found in bananas. Melatonin is a hormone the brain produces naturally that also greatly contributes to a good night’s sleep. Calcium and magnesium both naturally produce melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain that promotes sleepiness, so eating dairy products, wheat, and beans can all lead to a more restful sleep. Additionally, some proteins, such as lean meats, produce tryptophan, an amino acid that causes sleepiness. Carbohydrates, such as starches and fibers, can also cause fatigue because the body breaks them down into sugars that become glucose, which ultimately becomes blood sugar. Some healthy carbohydrates can be found in whole grain, cereal, and vegetables.
While some foods can help you get a better night’s sleep, other foods and eating habits can reduce your amount of sleep. Some of these include:
• Eating too much or too little
• Caffeine (after lunchtime)
• Fatty foods (fast food, junk food, etc.)
• Eating late at night
• Alcohol (in large doses)
Try to avoid these bad eating habits and replace them with healthy foods that are high in calcium, magnesium, healthy carbohydrates, and protein. If you think you are suffering from a sleep disorder that cannot be helped by your diet, consult a physician for an assessment or to discuss treatments for possible sleep disorders. To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.