5 Snacks to Stay Asleep

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry? You could get up and grab a snack, but you don’t want to cheat on that diet you’ve been so faithful to. So here are 5 foods that will help you stay asleep during the night without jeopardizing your diet plan.

Learn to fall asleep in 100 seconds or less here

1. Turkey

If you’ve had a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you know how ready for a nap you are afterward. Turkey is very filling and also has tons of tryptophan — an amino acid that helps you fall asleep by triggering production of melatonin. You don’t need to fill up on turkey ever night to sleep though. A couple other foods that are high in tryptophan include eggs, salmon, and pineapples.

 

2. Tart Cherry Juice

The science on this one is mostly the same. Eating tart cherries(or tart cherry juice) boosts your melatonin levels to help you sleep. In a study done involving tart cherries, the researchers found that those who consumed them twice a day stayed asleep and took fewer naps. If staying up in those hump hours of the day are a problem for you, maybe try a cup of tart cherry juice in the morning.

 

3. Almonds

If trail mix is one of your favorite snacks, you will love this one.  Almonds contain a ton of magnesium, a chemical that regulates reactions in your body that help you sleep. It will help improve the quality of your sleep and keep you from waking up in the middle of the night. However, be careful because taking too much magnesium can cause a reaction with some medications.

Fall asleep easier using this sleep position

4. Raisin Bread

Never mind regular bread — raisin bread is where it’s at.  Not only does it taste better but it can also help you sleep. Raisin bread is very filling but also safe to eat because it’s filled with plenty of healthy fats and carbs. Since you are less hungry, you won’t wake up as much during the night. The raisins also help lower orexin levels. Orexin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that causes you to get up and get more food. By taking that out of the equation, you will be able to stay asleep longer.

5. Yogurt and Strawberries

Yogurt is known to contain a load of calcium. Disturbances in sleep have been closely associated with calcium deficiency. Research has shown that calcium levels are higher in deeper stages of sleep. Most berries —including strawberries —  contain the vitamin B6. A deficiency in B6 has been found hinder the production of melatonin, causing lower quality sleep. To stay asleep and get much-needed rest, eat some yogurt with strawberries mixed in sometime during the day.

Check this out for more on Calcium and Magnesium: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php

If you know any other foods that aid sleep, make sure to list them in the comments below!

Also, check out this other post on how to sleep in easier on Saturday morning!

How does caffeine affects dreams?

For all of those avid coffee drinkers out there, this question has probably come up. What effect, if any, does caffeine have on my dreams?

A good majority of coffee drinkers will tell you that caffeine produces no detrimental sleep problems; they have built up a tolerance to caffeine which allows them to drink it whenever they want, and still fall asleep without much trouble. But if we look deeper we will find some underlying effects.

Caffeine is known to increase the production of a hormone called cortisol. It’s often created by the body in high-risk situations because it enhances alertness/awareness. A person not in a stressful situation when producing extra cortisol will experience negative effects like stress and anxiety. Of course, the most popular example of a low-stress situation that we engage in all the time is sleeping. For a person attempting to sleep with high levels of cortisol, the best case scenario would be a very light sleep while the worst case would be the development of insomnia.

Studies show a decrease in the quality of sleep for those who drink coffee regularly —which is definitely the case for most.  But it doesn’t always mean they don’t sleep through the night. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can abstain your body from entering deeper stages of sleep. For example, a coffee drinker could fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, but they might only be in a very light stage of sleep. So naturally, their 8 hours of rest might only feel like 5, and their body will feel extra tired during the day in order to revert back to normal sleep patterns.

 

But what does this have to do with dreams? Well, there is a stage of sleep where you are most likely to have dreams — especially ones you recall. This stage is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and, naturally, it’s the deepest stage of sleep. Coffee drinkers — and particularly those who drink coffee right before bed — have not given their bodies a chance to get rid of the stimulant which causes their body to stay in light stages of sleep. If the body can’t enter stage 3/Delta sleep, then it won’t be able to enter REM, thus causing dreams to be prevented.

For those who take a break from coffee for a few days, vivid dreams could occur because there is no longer a stimulant blocking their passageway into REM sleep.
Has coffee effected the way that you dream in any way?

What is a dream?

Ever wondered what a dream is? What is my mind doing as my body spends hours in bed? Where does this nightly plunge into the realm of our inner unknown really take us? We’ve all experienced a heap of crazy, scary, or enjoyable dreams. These dreams give some flavor to the otherwise quiet and boring hours where your body is completely inactive. Or is it?

By definition, dreams are thoughts, images, sequences and sensations experienced during sleep. They could include a wide range of activities, from eating cereal to going skydiving, and may mirror people or events in your real life. Some believe dreams to be a direct or indirect indicator of what’s going on in our unconscious mind, as did Sigmund Freud who called dreams the “royal road” to the unconscious.

 Inside the brain

Our dreams are electronic impulses being detected and deciphered by the cortex of our brain. These impulses could be memories of something in the past days, weeks, or years, even something as simple and mundane as eating breakfast. When our brain receives these electronic signals, it attempts to make sense of them, organizing them into a kind of story. These stories(or dreams) are usually random sequences and don’t make any sense to us — and are really not supposed to.
SMLXL

At several intervals in a night, we enter what is called REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep. In this stage, we experience more bodily movement (including rapid eye movements duh), faster breathing, and we are in our most likely state to have a dream. While this stage only lasts for a short time, it is the most important stage when it comes to dreaming.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, and you feel so tired that you easily fall back asleep after a few seconds? This is because you were in REM sleep when you were awoken. When we are asleep and dreaming, our brain ceases the production of several chemicals that tell our body to move, so that we don’t act out our dreams. This is referred to as REM A-topia.If the body does not achieve REM A-topia, the body could wake up and start moving around without the person being aware of it. This is why people can sleep walk around and not remember anything when they eventually wake up.
Another phenomenon that’s possible while in REM sleep is called lucid dreaming. You’ve probably heard of it. Simply put, a lucid dreamer is a person who is dreaming and knows they are dreaming. They are awake all while they are dreaming, and thus able to make conscious decisions inside the dream.
Cool, right?
But there are still so many unanswered questions about how dreams are made, what causes them, and what their contents mean. Although new scientific discoveries are being made all the time regarding dreams, we still have a long way to go before we have a comprehensive understanding of this phenomena.
Tell me what you think about dreaming. Do you enjoy it? Think it’s weird or scary?