People in the 21st century live in a super-charged society where fast-paced activity always seems to take priority over our basic needs such as getting sufficient sleep. Today's active lifestyle is so enticing that many individuals compromise the need to rest and get enough sleep. Because of this attitude, many people are experiencing malfunctions in the brain, slowed reaction time, and the ability to focus attention. Oftentimes, these factors lead to a lack of quality judgment in many minor and important situations. Lack of sleep may take its toll on one's lifestyle and performance. On the contrary, many adults who get adequate sleep are happier and are more productive.
Indeed, sleep has many health benefits that have often been taken for granted by many. But, because of the stress of today's lifestyle, a lot of people have been experiencing difficulties in getting quality sleep. Recent medical studies show that food regimens and activity may play a critical role in determining one's sleeping patterns. Some foods may improve sleep, while others can make sleep difficult. Instead of trying food supplements that induce sleep, medical specialists suggest that people who want to improve their sleep should make wise choices in their diets.
Foods that promote quality sleep may include green leafy vegetables, whole wheat grains, cereals, and mushrooms. Eating fruits like bananas and berries or spices like basil and sage may also aid in sleep problems. A common method of inducing sleep like drinking a glass of milk is essential in improving one's sleeping patterns. Milk contains tryptophan, a kind of amino acid that is converted into serotonin (the hormone that controls sleep). Other foods that contain tryptophan are turkey, honey, egg whites, and tuna.
On the other hand, foods that should be avoided are the ones that contain caffeine. They include chocolate, cocoa, colas, and some over-the-counter or prescription medicines. Spicy foods should also be avoided because they may cause ingestion or gastrointestinal reflux. Sweet or fatty food may also lead to ingestion and cause bloating. Eating too much should also be avoided because too many meals may cause indigestion, heartburn or discomfort.
Some advice for achieving good sleep may include the following:
* Establish a schedule and stick to it; sleep when you are sleepy but try to get up and go to bed each day at about the same time.
* Use a fan or other means of creating a steady, soothing sound to drown out other noises.
* Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake; avoid caffeine afternoon and don’t use alcohol as a sedative before bed.
* Get heavy curtains or shades to block out bright light early in the morning if you are waking earlier than you’d like.
* Check your medication list. Because some medicines can interfere with sleep, ask your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you take.
* Refrain from vigorous exercise within several hours of bedtime.
* Avoid heavy meals or excessive fluids within an hour or two of bedtime.
Although the use of medication and other food supplements are not prohibited, individuals who want to use medication to aid them in their sleep should always consult doctors before taking them. These people should bear in mind that the best way to improve sleep is to eat the right food.