Saturday, March 7, 2009

Foods to help you sleep

The National Sleep Foundation recently released its annual poll estimating that Americans get an average of about 6.7 hours of sleep each day. The poll shows that over the last decade the number of hours Americans sleep gradually decreased and the number of people who get eight or more hours is dwindling.
How can we sleep more and better? Can food help?

A light snack before bed may improve your chances for a restful sleep. The snack should be made of mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. This high-carbohydrate, low-protein combination may increase the availability of tryptophan . Tryptophan, an amino acid converted in our bodies to melatonin and serotonin, may help induce sleep. Avoid too much protein before bedtime though. Protein-rich foods contain another amino acid called tyrosine. This amino acid that stimulates brain activity.

Bedtime snacks that increase tryptophan
Dairy foods, oats, bananas, poultry and peanuts are good sources of tryptophan,
A small bowl of oatmeal or cereal with low-fat milk
Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
Half bagel or crackers with peanut butter, 1 ounce of cheese or a slice of deli turkey on top
Sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheese

Chamomile tea with warm milk is one of my favorites bedtime treats and one I recommend to anyone needing to rest.

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