Before getting under your cozy, soft sheets and blanket at bedtime, it might be a good idea to consider what you’ve had to drink. Why? If you want to experience deep, restorative, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep while your head is resting comfortably on a fluffy pillow, you’ll need to consume the right drinks beforehand.
What You Should Avoid
There are a number of different popular drinks that you'll want to avoid if you're trying to achieve the type of deep sleep that translates into the optimum relaxation and restoration experience.
Coffee – Don’t drink this before bed! Why? It could easily keep you awake throughout the night and even if you do manage to fall asleep, you likely won’t find it a pleasant experience. This is the case because the caffeine will make it difficult to fall into a deep sleep and achieve REM. Not only that, but coffee often makes people have to use the bathroom. Needless to say, that will cut into your shut-eye time and keep you out of bed instead of in it.
Soda – Just like coffee, sodas could keep you wide awake. Caffeine is your enemy at bedtime. If you’re at dinner, consider how much time will be left before you turn the lights out because drinking a soda will likely have you staring at the ceiling all night.
Too Much Water – While it’s important to stay hydrated, too much water will cause you to make late night trips to the bathroom. Since water does such a good job of hydrating the body and flowing through it in relatively rapid fashion, the turnover from ingestion to digestion is quick and it might just be ready to leave you right when you’re about to start enjoying a dream.
Alcohol – For those of you who like to have a glass of wine with dinner or pop open a beer after work, taking it out of your routine might hurt. The good news is that if you have it during happy hour, it might be early enough to avoid it affecting your sleep. If you have alcohol too close to bedtime though, it can make you drowsy. The problem is that studies show it will keep you from reaching REM in your sleep and that means you won’t be achieving a truly quality restful experience.
What You Should Drink
Now that you know what to avoid, it's time to consider what will actually help you achieve restful sleep.
Herbal Tea – Drink only the non-caffeinated kinds such as chamomile, lavender and lemon balm. These teas have properties known to help alleviate anxiety and create a calming nature in your body. With benefits like that, you should be able to relax and sleep.
Cherry Juice – You'll want to consume only the 100% juice kind that doesn’t have added sugar. Some studies showed that insomniacs spent more time asleep consuming cherry juice twice a day for two weeks. If you haven’t been sleeping well, perhaps adding cherry juice to your diet will do the trick.
Almond Butter Smoothie – Blend almond milk, almond butter and bananas to get a sweet taste before bedtime. It's a great alternative to regular milk and the ingredients contain magnesium, which has been known to cause better sleep by relaxing the nervous system. Bonus: An almond butter smoothie could also be a great replacement for dessert!
A Small Glass Of Water – Of course, don't drink too much water or you'll be waking up to use the restroom all night. With that said, a little bit will help you stay hydrated while you sleep. After all, we often go a minimum of six hours without drinking anything when we sleep and that’s a lot of time to go without hydration. At the very least, keep a glass of water on your nightstand to quench your thirst and drink it when you wake up to hydrate you for the day to come.
Don’t drink too much of anything right before bed because it’ll wake you up for trips to the bathroom all night. However, it's a good idea to consider switching your soda for a chamomile tea at dinner and having an almond butter smoothie for dessert. That way when you slip under the sheets, you can drift away to a dreamy, restful sleep.