Mothers all over the world have always believed in the power of warm milk (and a few cookies) to help put their children to sleep. Warm milk seems to be the universal prescription for sending us off to sweet dreams. What is the magical ‘secret” ingredient that makes warm milk a potent sleep inducer? Is it all just in our heads?
Dairy foods like Milk contain a powerful amino acid called “Tryptophan”. Tryptophan is a particularly fun little helper that can be found abundantly in protein based foods. You can also find it in the following: chocolate, oats, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, spirulina, bananas, and peanuts.
So there is a way to supercharge the sleep inducing powers of “Tryptophan”. That is by eating carbohydrate rich food. That’s is why the milk and cookies combo works so well. In addition to milk and cookies, try a small snack of yoghurt and crackers, cheese and crackers, or a cheese sandwich to help you sleep. SMALL is the operative word, so remember to keep the snack light as a heavy meal can lead to insomnia and a host of other problems.
Hidden sleep killers:
Do you know that your Hot Cocoa or your over the counter medicines can contain hidden caffeine that makes it difficult to get some sleep. Check the labels and you might find the culprit to your insomnia. Of course, the obvious caffeinated beverages should be avoided: Coffee, tea, and sodas. If you must have tea, stick to the sleep inducing kind like Chamomile, Peppermint, lavender, Valerian, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, or Magnolia Bark.
Sugar and Spice and all things nice:
You heard it right…avoid too much sugar before bed. Too much sugar is generally bad for your health, pre bedtime or otherwise. Remember to take everything in moderation. Also, lay off on the spicy food already! There is this thing called heartburn. It has nothing to do with breaking up with your SO or Significant Other and a whole lot to do with an especially problematic condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Lying down makes the acids in our stomach go up and makes heartburns worse. A heartburn kind of feels like a mini heart attack, thus the words heart and burn.
A little help:
Prescription Sleeping pills might help you achieve that coveted 8 hours of sleep, but it is not a long term solution for chronic insomnia. At most, it is a band aid solution to a serious problem that must be consulted with a healthcare professional. If you must take meds to help with sleep, it is best to stick to natural remedies such as Valerian or Melatonin.
Do you know of any sleep inducing food or food combos? Have you heard of any old wives tales that supposedly help induce restful sleep? We’d love to hear your tips. Please share them with us in the comments below. As always: Stay Humble and hustle Hard!
Written by Jaie O.- The Help