What foods should you eat -- or avoid -- to get a good night's rest?
Nothing is more annoying than insomnia, and getting a good night's sleep is essential for good health. Check out this list of potential good and bad foods when it comes to getting some shut-eye.
Chicken (Worst) -- Chicken or any type of protein is going to be counterproductive if consumed at night. Proteins take longer to digest, and digestion supposedly slows by about 50 percent when you're sleeping, which means your body isn't going to be focused on sleeping.
Cherries (Best) -- Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body’s internal clock.
Wine (Worst) -- Alcohol of any kind is terrible for sleep, experts say, mainly because it metabolizes quickly in your system and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night.
Milk (Best) -- Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Although the topic is a controversial one, some people believe that tryptophan and serotonin might make it easier to sleep.
Dark Chocolate (Worst) -- Chocolate contains not only calories, but caffeine, especially dark chocolate. Chocolate also contains theobromine, another stimulant that can increase heart rate and sleeplessness.
Jasmine Rice (Best) -- Jasmine rice ranks high on the glycemic index, meaning the body digests it slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream.
Indian Curry (Worst) -- Heavy spices like curry can keep you awake at night. They can also cause heartburn.
Fortified Cereal (Best) -- Try a bowl of Kashi or shredded wheat, which contain "good" or complex carbs, when you want a good night's sleep. Even better, cereal goes well with milk, which has its own sleep-promoting qualities.
Red Bull (Worst) -- The culprit here again is caffeine. One eight-ounce Red Bull energy drink contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine or the equivalent of a one-ounce Starbucks espresso.
Bananas (Best) -- Bananas help promote sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. They’re also carbs, which will help make you sleepy as well.
Mountain Dew (Worst) -- Mountain Dew MDX along with Jolt cola and Vault contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving -- the upper limit of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows.
Turkey (Best) -- Like milk, turkey contains tryptophan, a chemical that can make people doze off in front of the TV after Thanksgiving dinner.
Coffee (Worst) -- Coffee contains caffeine, which is a central nervous stimulant. And although some may have higher caffeine tolerance levels, it's best just to skip the java, especially late in the day.
Sweet Potatoes (Best) -- Sweet potatoes are a sleeper’s dream. Not only do they provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain that muscle-relaxant potassium.
Bacon Cheeseburger (Worst) -- The stratospheric fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to be a sleep killer. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can spill up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
Valerian Tea -- The root of the valerian plant has been shown in some studies to speed the onset of sleep and improve sleep quality. Some also believe that valerian tea along with motherwort, chamomile and catnip brews, none of which contain caffeine, will help make you drowsy.
Check out the Health.com article in full here.
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