It is well known that the sleep you get tonight will affect the type of day you have tomorrow. Senior loved ones tend to require less sleep, but if they are having trouble getting to sleep, it could impact your day as well. Preparing a bed time snack of the right ingredients can help to calm the body and relax the mind.
Sleep friendly foods:
- Healthy, unsaturated fats will increase your serotonin levels and make you drowsy. Almonds contain plenty of protein and magnesium, so they are good for muscle relaxation. Avocados, walnuts, cashew nuts or peanut butter also improve the health of you heart.
- “What about a nice glass of warm milk before you go to bed?” a lot of mothers will say. The calcium in the milk helps to regulate melatonin and a spoonful of honey makes it more soothing.
- I once drew a picture of my brother’s foot, which was facing me when he fell asleep after a family Christmas meal. Lean meat, such as turkey or fish, which are high in tryptophan, a banana, a rice cake or an egg can all increase serotonin levels. Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for nitrogen balance in adults. It cannot be produced by the body, so has to come from your diet.
- Bananas are also known for their potassium and magnesium, which relax the muscles. Magnesium can also be found in nutrient rich fruits like apples, apricots and peaches.
- Whole grain biscuits, a bowl of oatmeal or cereal, or mashed sweet potato can provide you with complex carbohydrates, with the bowl of oatmeal containing calcium, magnesium, silicon and potassium.
Not so friendly foods:
- Forget the addition of coffee to your toddy, because caffeine can prevent sleep altogether, and too much chocolate can too.
- Alcohol may put you to sleep, but there are no guarantees on the quality of that sleep!
- Spicy or greasy foods will argue with your stomach and keep you awake.
- An insulin release to cope with high volumes of refined sugar as in sweets, can cause indigestion, as can large amounts of protein.
- Over eating in general will also lead to indigestion, and too much liquid within about 90 minutes of bedtime will get you up in the middle of the night.
So, get these right and it should be a good night’s sleep for everybody!