4 food tips that can help fight insomnia

Getting the appropriate amount of sleep at night is just as essential as oxygen, food and water for the human body, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Although occassionaly experiencing a restless night is common for most people, some experience difficulty sleeping more frequently due to a disorder known as insomnia. As studies show, insomnia is more common for seniors, as sleep initiation becomes more difficult with age.

You may have tried relaxation techniques or sticking to a scheduled bedtime routine, but did you know that your diet can have an impact on your sleeping habits, too? According to Everyday Health, your eating habits can make an impression on the way you sleep. If you are trying to get a better night's sleep, here are four food tips that may help.

1. Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol has been known to make people drowsy. But, in a past issue of EatingWell magazine, EW advisor Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, and RD, says that alcohol can suppress the rapid eye movement sleep state, the level of sleep that is most crucial for a good night's rest. If you plan on drinking any alcoholic beverages before bed, make sure it's a few hours before.

Alcohol can suppress the most important sleep state.Too much a
lcohol can suppress the most important sleep state.

2. Don't go to sleep on a full stomach
Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, told Everyday Health that it's crucial you don't go to bed with a full stomach. "Your body is going to function as though it were 7 o'clock at night because of all of the food you just put into it," she says. Your body uses food as fuel, so the later you eat, the later your body will be fueled to stay awake. The source suggests eating no later than two hours before bed.

"Choose a whole grain snack before bed."

3. Avoid sugary snacks before bed
Sometimes, there's nothing more comforting than a bedtime snack. Although you may want to reach for sugary treats, it's important to avoid them before bed. Consuming sugar can interfere with sleep because of its ability to wake you up due to a sugar rush. Be careful with which snacks you choose, because even a healthy fruit, such as grapes, may contain too much sugar. Choosing a whole grain snack, such as a small bowl of oatmeal, is a great way to curb your appetite without providing an unwanted sugar rush.

4. Cut down caffeine consumption
If you tend to drink two to three cups of coffee in a day, you may want to consider cutting back. EatingWell says caffeine has a different effect on everyone, but if you're having trouble sleeping at night, you may want to consider limiting yourself to one cup of coffee a day. Coffee isn't the only beverage with caffeine in it, either; tea and soda are sources too. Consider opting for a caffeine-free drink such as decaffeinated honey-lemon tea.