Sleepy Foods?

I read and hear from people how they don't sleep well the night before a race or how they are unable to sleep at all.  I don't have any problems going to sleep.  As soon as the TV is off and my head hits the pillows the Zzzzzz's start rolling, even on race night. [caption id="attachment_4159" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Large meal with alcohol will not be good for sleep"]alcohol_carbohydrate_pasta_sleep_deterrent[/caption] As I have previously written sleep is vital to recovery.  As you sleep your body is repairing your muscles from the day's activities and also preparing them for the next days workout.  I always wonder if my ability to sleep, and others ability not to sleep is based on what they ate and also when.  Did they drink a food heavy in carbohydrates?  Did I eat a lot of sugar?  So many different scenarios and a little research led me to Competitor magazine. The article in Competitor magazine provided sleep helpers and sleep deterrents.  The sleep helper consisted of tryptophan, which many of you will automatically link to Thanksgiving (the greatest holiday in all the land) and people falling asleep on the couch watching football. Foods rich in this natural chemical include poultry, eggs and dairy. Research shows that eating a tryptophan-containing food in moderation as part of an evening meal may help induce sleep faster and lead to a better quality of sleep. Carbohydrates in foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains initiate an insulin response that helps tryptophan reach and act upon the brain. However, avoid sugary, starchy carbohydrates, which can lead to disturbed sleep. Selective herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint or valerian root might help some people sleep better. The warm, comforting drink along with relaxing herbs can promote sleep. (Just make sure you buy a non-caffeinated kind.) The perfect meal would be 1 egg on whole grain bread with a cup of tea approximately 1 to 2 hours prior to sleep. [caption id="attachment_4158" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Sugary Drinks and a heavy meal will not help with your sleep"]food_sleep_deterrent_soda[/caption] The deterrents included the obvious in coffee, caffeinated teas, energy drinks, alcohol in excess, and hyper-hydration.  It also pointed out when to eat food, but not to be too heavy in protein and fats or spicy. These foods are harder to digest, and although large meals might make you sleepy immediately, slow or difficult digestion means disturbed and lower-quality sleep. But don’t go to bed overly hungry—a growling stomach and hunger pains do not make for a restful night. If you really need a snack after dinner, eat something small and preferably containing tryptophan, such as a warm glass of milk. (Grandma may have been right after all.)  

How do you sleep? What do you do to help you sleep?

 

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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