How to sleep: Snack before bed to ‘stabilise blood sugar’ helps people fall asleep

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Award-winning nutritional therapist Christine Bailey spoke to Express.co.uk about how to get a good night’s sleep.

The nutritionist, recipe developer, author, chef, advises what she calls “time-restricted eating”.

In short, this means stopping eating at a certain time before bed to help sleep.

Christine said: “For a lot of clients I encourage them to do what’s called time-restricted eating.

“So, let’s try and get them to eat as early as possible, say by about 7pm.

“Then you’re allowing at least, probably for a lot of clients, three to four hours before bed without having lots of food sitting in your stomach.

“Some of my clients find that if they eat too early then they might have a snack.

“It will only be a handful of nuts, not a big snack, about an hour or two hours before they go to bed just to stabilise their blood sugar.

“This method seems to be a really good opportunity for people to get a good meal, but allow time for the digestive system to work before they go to bed.”

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How does food affect sleep?

Diet affects sleep in a number of ways and can have a profound impact on the quality of sleep.

Whether it’s mineral and vitamin deficiencies causing trouble sleeping, or blood sugar levels, paying attention to what you eat can help with sleep.

Foods to encourage sleep

Fruit and veg

Eating a variety of fruits and veg throughout the day is important to get enough vitamins and minerals, contributing to better sleep.

Almonds

Almonds contain magnesium, which has been associated with better sleep.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which might help you feel sleepy.

Olympian Greg Rutherford shares his top tips on sleep

Foods to avoid for good sleep

Avoid high carbohydrate meals

High carbohydrate intake has been sound to reduce the quality of deep sleep and cause people to wake up more in the night.

Avoid high sugar foods

High sugar foods cause big spikes in blood sugar. In general, this has a number of negative health consequences.

However, eating sugary foods before bed especially can cause trouble sleeping.

Nutritionist Rosie Millen, the author behind Burnout’s a B*tch, discussed some foods to be wary of when trying to sleep well.

She said there are some food people should never eat before going to bed.

“The most obvious one here is coffee,” Rosie said.

“Caffeine has a half-life of about four to five hours so if you drink a cup of coffee after dinner at 9pm, four hours later half of the caffeine is still going to be in your bloodstream keeping you awake.

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