You probably already know that the food you eat including the beverages you drink can seriously affect your level of alertness and sleep quality. This article focuses on the most beneficial drinks for a good night’s sleep as well as the ones that are best avoided before bedtime.
THE BEST DRINKS TO BOOST YOUR SLEEP
1# Cherry juice is one of the most beneficial natural drinks for good sleep quality. Drinking tart cherry juice in the morning is also highly recommended to night workers as it helps fall asleep faster.
2# Chamomile tea and passionfruit tea also promote a good night’s sleep. Drink this an hour and a half before going to bed. Add a little honey to taste.
3# Milk, providing you aren’t lactose intolerant, can also help you fall asleep better owing to the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. Drink a glass of warm milk an hour and a half before bedtime.
THE DRINKS TO AVOID BEFORE SLEEP
Even though water is one of the healthiest drinks your body depends on for proper function, drinking water right before going to bed will overwork your kidneys. This also means that you’ll probably wake up a couple of times in the first few hours of sleep.
You may think that alcohol will make you feel more relaxed and sleepy, but it actually affects your sleep quality. The thing is, you’ll fall asleep fast, but once the alcohol has been metabolized (this usually happens 3-4 hours into sleep), you awaken and can’t go back to sleep. Even if you do fall asleep again, you’ll probably spend the night waking up frequently and dreaming intensely. This is far from a good night’s sleep.
Drinking before bedtime also puts you at a higher risk of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
It’s widely known that caffeine, an ingredient commonly found in coffee and soda, boosts alertness and energy levels. But, this effect only lasts for a couple of hours then you need more caffeine to re-energize and beat the fatigue or sleepiness rebound.
And, that’s not all as this energy-boosting effect of caffeine also raises your heart and respiratory rates. This in turn increases your anxiety. Caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and before bedtime are a big no-no for people with restless-leg syndrome, who’ll only experience worsening of their condition, especially during the evening and at bedtime. That’s why it’s highly recommended to cut out caffeinated beverages altogether or at least after lunchtime if you have restless legs.
How to cut down on caffeine: If you’re addicted to caffeine, it’ll be very difficult for you to cut tit from your diet all at once. That’s why you can start switching to half-caffeinated and half-decaffeinated beverages. It’s also a good idea to limit your caffeine consumption to mornings up through lunchtime, and stick to decaffeinated beverages only later in the day.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
As we mentioned at the beginning, what you drink affects your sleep quality in the same way as what you eat does. For a good night’s sleep, eliminate all caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m., and avoid alcohol before bedtime. Instead, drink tart cherry juice or chamomile or passionfruit tea with a little honey or milk an hour and a half before going to bed to help you relax and fall asleep faster. Last, but not least, restrict your fluid intake one hour before bedtime to reduce sleep disruptions in the first few hours as this is the time when sleep is the deepest and most healing.