Oatmeal: One of the Best Bedtime Snacks for Sleep
Written by Eli Ben-YehudaOn May 29, 2022
The Power of Oatmeal
Sometimes when I cannot fall asleep, which seems to be quite frequently lately, I find something to snack on. But recently, while doing my research, I stumbled across what some are saying is the perfect bedtime food.
Oatmeal is one of the best foods to help get your body ready for bed. It’s full of melatonin, the sleep hormone and its complex carbohydrates will help get the boosted tryptophan to the brain. Since oatmeal on its own is pretty neutral in flavor, it makes an excellent vehicle for pairing it with other sleep boosting foods like almond butter or bananas. Oatmeal also contains Vitamin D.
Oatmeal contains adenine and trigonelline. These are two types of prolamines (vegetable proteins).
They help lower anxiety, nervousness, and the mental and physical agitation that tends to build up over the day and keep you from falling into a deep, healthy sleep.
However, it should be noted, this type of vegetable protein in oatmeal often acts as an allergen for people with Celiac disease, so it’s best to avoid oats if that is your case.
One of the major causes of insomnia is chronic anxiety or stress. These emotional processes stimulate the adrenal gland and gradually release certain hormones that cause muscular tension, stress, and fatigue.
Regularly consuming oatmeal will help you normalize many hormones that correlate with stress. You’ll balance your cortisol levels and support your nervous system due to oatmeal’s significant vitamin B complex content.
In addition, oatmeal encourages internal homeostasis, relaxes you, fosters good digestion, and supports good liver health. All of this will help you get a deeper, more restorative night’s sleep.
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A Bowl Of Melatonin And Vitamin D Please!
Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland camera.gif, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also buy it as a supplement.
Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to the late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours.
Light affects how much melatonin your body produces. During the shorter days of the winter months, your body may produce melatonin either earlier or later in the day than usual. This change can lead to symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression.
Natural melatonin levels slowly drop with age. Some older adults make very small amounts of it or none at all.
The Science Behind Oatmeal
A scientific study suggests vitamin D supplements could be used to improve the sleep quality of people with sleep disorders. For those who spend their nights counting sheep and watching alarm clocks, it might sound like a “miracle cure”, but could a simple dietary supplement pill really be the solution to serious sleep disorders?
A team of scientists carried out a clinical trial earlier this year that concluded: “the use of vitamin D supplementation improves sleep quality, reduces sleep latency, [and] raises sleep duration.” Their results were published in the Journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
They gathered 89 people, aged 20 to 50 years, suffering from sleep disorders. Over a period of 8 weeks, 44 participants took a vitamin D supplement and the rest a placebo. Before and after the experiment, they were given a sleep quality questionnaire, a diet assessment, and extensive questioning of their lifestyle and fitness.
By the end of the study, the vitamin D recipients had dramatically improved sleep quality compared to placebo recipients.
Being as oatmeal contains both these nutrients it makes sense to include having a bowl of oatmeal before bedtime. However, keep in mind: have this bowl of oatmeal every day between an hour and two hours before bed if you want to take advantage of its benefits.
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