[Joy Bauer Nutrition]
One of the best natural sedatives is tryptophan, an amino acid component of many plant and animal proteins.
Tryptophan is one of the ingredients necessary for the body to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter best known for creating feelings of calm, and for making you sleepy.
However, the trick is to combine foods that have some tryptophan with ample carbohydrate. That’s because in order for insomnia-busting tryptophan to work, it has to make its way to the brain.
Unfortunately, all amino acids compete for transport to the brain. When you add carbs, they cause the release of insulin, which takes the competing amino acids and incorporates them into muscle…but leaves tryptophan alone, so it can make its way to the brain, be converted to serotonin, and cause sleepiness.
Serotonin-producing bedtime snacks should be no more than 200 calories and should be eaten at least 30 minutes prior to bed.
Here are a few great ideas:
Bedtime Snacks for Adults
--6-8 oz container of non-fat, flavored yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons low-fat granola cereal
--Sliced apple with 1-2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
--3 cups low-fat popcorn – sprinkled with optional 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Bedtime Snacks for Teens
--One cup healthy cereal with skim milk
--Low-fat granola bar
--Scoop of vanilla or strawberry low-fat ice cream
Bedtime Snacks for Children
--1/2 cup low-fat vanilla pudding
--1/2 banana with 1-2 teaspoons peanut butter
--One cup skim milk with a bunch of grapes (or other fruit)