Woman sleeping with decorative cloud shapes all around her.

If you are not getting the full night's sleep you want, maybe it's time to take a look at your bedtime routine. Particularly look at what you eat and drink 1 to 2  hours before bedtime. The key to better sleep could lie in your eating habits.

What to Eat and Drink Before Bed

Some foods and beverages contain soothing, sleep-inducing ingredients and you can make a list of them and see which ones work the best for you. 

A mug of warm milk can also help put you to sleep. First, warm milk is very soothing. Next, once it enters your system, it will distribute tryptophan. This is the amino acid that everyone blames for post-Thanksgiving dinner naps. Although turkey and cheese also contain tryptophan, they are not as soothing to the system as warm milk. 

A banana before bed is also a great way to fall asleep easily. The reason for this is that bananas contain tryptophan, magnesium, and potassium. You already know the sleep-inducing benefits of tryptophan. In addition, bananas are also easy to digest so your stomach will not keep you awake. 

Magnesium and potassium are also in bananas and are found in many over-the-counter sleep aids. These minerals are both muscle relaxants and will help you unwind and sink into your bed. They also prevent muscle cramps so you will most likely not be awakened by one. 

Chamomile is a small daisy-like flower that people have used for many reasons for centuries. First, it is soothing to the digestive system so if you have overeaten or had something upset your stomach, a cup of chamomile tea can help. 

It is also a natural calming agent and has helped many generations to relax before bed.

What Not to Eat and Drink Before Bed

On the other hand, there are definitely things you should avoid before bed. Yes, it's called a nightcap, but alcohol is a bad idea before bed. It may make you fall easily asleep but it won't be a sound sleep and you will most likely not feel rested in the morning.

A heavy meal is also a bad idea before sleeping. When you sleep, your brain tries to slow down your systems, including your digestive system. That makes it hard for food to digest and you might lie awake while your stomach churns and feels too full.

Caffeine should also be avoided for at least two hours before bed. Many people like to end their dinner with a cup of coffee or tea. If you really can't do without it, switch to decaffeinated. Not only will caffeine prevent you from sleeping deeply, but you will also need to make several trips to the bathroom since caffeine is a diuretic. 

What Else

Besides what you choose to eat or drink before bed, there are a couple of other things you should avoid. Shut down your phone and computer at least an hour before you plan to sleep. At the very least, switch them to night mode. The blue light that screens emit tells your brain that it's time to be wide awake. Night mode changes screens to amber light.

Better yet, put away the electronics and either read a book or listen to music. Both are very soothing activities. The 11 o'clock news is a bad idea because there are always unsettling things in the news and thinking about them may prevent you from falling asleep. Save the news for daytime when your system can better handle it.

Don't try to sleep in a nest of rumpled sheets. Smooth everything out before you get in. Also, turn the thermostat down a bit. It's easier to fall asleep when the room is slightly chilly.

If you haven't been getting enough sleep for a while, examine your bedtime routines and do some tweaking. A night of better sleep could be as simple as stocking up on milk and bananas.

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About The Author

Mikkie Mills's picture

Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer who's passionate about health, fitness, organic cooking and eating, and yoga. When not writing she loves traveling, hiking, and cooking. Find more from Mikkie on Google+.

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