Everyone, including older adults, has had a restless night due to eating or drinking something that caused overstimulation or an upset stomach. But, if food can cause a person not to sleep well, can it also help them to sleep better? It turns out that there are, in fact, some foods that can make for a better night’s rest.
Eating for Better Sleep
When it comes to food, how a person eats can affect the way they sleep just as much as what they eat. Eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day can help prevent hunger late in the day. Being hungry late in the day can cause seniors to eat a large snack before bed, leaving them with an upset stomach. That said, eating too little for dinner can also leave older adults feeling hungry and unable to sleep. Experts also say that following a regular waking and sleeping schedule can help keep a person’s stomach in sync with the rest of the body’s sleep cycle.
Foods to Eat
Many seniors are used to having a bedtime snack, and some bedtime snacks can help them sleep better. Here are a few suggestions for sleep inducing snacks:
Milk: Although not all experts agree, some suggest that milk can help people to sleep because of two of substances found in it: calcium and tryptophan. The calcium helps the tryptophan to make serotonin, which helps with sleep. In addition, many people find warm milk to be soothing.
Complex Carbohydrates: A snack that contains complex carbohydrates and a little protein is considered an excellent bedtime snack. Experts believe that the carbs help the body produce serotonin.
B Vitamins: Foods that contain B vitamins help the body to use tryptophan to create serotonin faster. Turkey, fish, poultry, and chickpeas are good sources of B vitamins.
Cherries: Cherries and cherry juice are packed with melatonin. Research indicates that they work as well as taking a melatonin supplement.
Foods to Avoid
The list of foods that can negatively affect sleep when eaten too close to bedtime is longer than the list of foods a person should eat. However, at the top of the list are two substances to avoid:
Caffeine: Caffeine, which is found in coffee, sodas, and chocolate, too close to bedtime can cause sleeplessness. In fact, experts at WebMD say that caffeine consumption is the first thing a person should look at if they are having trouble sleeping.
Nicotine: Okay, nicotine isn’t something a person eats, but it is a stimulant. So, if the older adult in your life smokes, they should avoid doing so too close to bedtime.
If your aging family member is having trouble sleeping, a home care provider can be beneficial in improving their sleep habits. A home care provider can help by preparing healthy meals and snacks for the senior to eat throughout the day so they can avoid being too hungry or too full at bedtime. Home care providers can also help older adults to follow a bedtime routine so that their body, brain, and stomach receive the signals that it is time to sleep.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring homecare in Chelsea, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...