Nighttime nutrition: Do's and don'ts for restful sleep

Nighttime nutrition: Do's and don'ts for restful sleep

A light snack, such as a peanut butter sandwich, can hit the spot before bed. "If you go to sleep with a little food in your stomach, it can be soothing," says Dr. Dan Root, a highly rated sleep specialist with Oregon Sleep Associates in Portland. But if you eat too much food, you might find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night.

Avoid the following to sleep a little easier:

Alcohol
A nightcap can induce sleep but will rob you of restful zzz’s. Alcohol relaxes muscles that keep the airway open and can worsen sleep-disrupting breathing problems.

Caffeine
The World Association of Sleep Medicine recommends passing on caffeinated drinks and chocolate six hours prior to bedtime.

Fatty fare
Pizza, a big roast and other heavy foods force the digestive system to work overtime and the rumblings — gas, bloating — can keep you up, especially if you eat late. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to finish eating two to three hours before your regular bedtime, says Darrel Drobnich of the National Sleep Foundation.

Sugar and spice
Anything that can cause heartburn, including spicy and acidic foods, can disrupt sleep. And anything you use as a pick-me-up — like that sugary drink — can delay slumber.


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