Everyone wishes for a good night’s sleep. It’s better for the mind and body when we can have a deep, restful sleep. And the effects spill over into other areas of our lives. Our job, relationships, and interactions with the world at large improve when we are well-rested and alert.
So it’s important to do all we can to ensure our sleep is high quality. This means watching what we eat and drink before bedtime. Today we’re going to focus on what which drinks improve and impair our sleep.
Certain beverages can help us relax. They can slow our nervous and metabolic systems down so we can fall asleep faster and sleep deeper and longer.
Milk – some people swear by a warm cup of milk before bed. Some like non-dairy substitutes like almond or soy milk. Others add things like turmeric and cinnamon to help calm the nervous system.
Be sure you don’t reach for a caffeinated tea before bedtime (more on caffeine later). Most herbal teas are a safe bet. Some people think that green tea is a good option, but there is quite a bit of caffeine in most green teas.
Some bedtime teas are:
Chamomile – you can steep the actual dried flowers in an infuser or buy a pre-made bag. This popular tea is known for soothing nerves and relaxing the nervous system.
Valerian tea – made from the root of the Valerian plant, teas with valerian root are said to act as a mild sedative. It too can help calm nerves and relax people enough to fall asleep more quickly than usual.
Passionflower tea – typically brewed from the leaves of the plant, passionflower tea is thought to reduce anxiety, treat sleep disorders, prevent depression, and lower blood pressure.
Blend – most popular brands create their own blends of “sleepytime tea,” with varying degrees of different herbs. Other common additions are lemon balm, lavender, California poppy, and hops.
Just as certain beverages help us sleep, others affect our bodies and minds to keep us up at night. Here are drinks to avoid before bed.
Some people get drowsy after a glass or two of wine or whiskey and use alcohol to fall asleep. However, it takes about three to four hours to metabolize, at which point you might be abruptly awoken, and will find it difficult to fall asleep again.
If you fall asleep after a night of heavy drinking, you may have a night of fitful sleeping with frequent awakenings. Alcohol can also induce sleep apnea which can disrupt the people around you trying to sleep.
How caffeine has come into our lives! Most people rely on caffeine to help them get through the day, and trying to quit will bring on brutal headaches and long spans of irritability.
One of the problems with caffeine is that the “boost” one feels is intense but short lasting, followed by a “crash”. After which, you feel like you need another blast of the stuff just to level out. If you drink caffeine well into the afternoon or evening, you might consider trying to cut back.
Caffeine is present in many products. Coffee (even decaf), green tea, chocolate, soda, and energy drinks are more or less obvious. There are some surprising ones, too. Protein bars and (some) “health” waters, for example. Also be aware that anything chocolate flavoured like ice cream or yogurt will have caffeine in it too.
Since it is a stimulant, it will raise your energy levels and alertness. And if it’s something you use so often that you don’t much notice the effects, you might not realize that it’s a culprit in keeping you awake at night. The next time you feel restless and jittery when you should feel tired, think about when your last hit of caffeine was.
There are many factors that go into getting a good night’s sleep. And what you drink is certainly one of them. If you suffer from poor sleeping habits, we hope this helps!