Promoting sound sleep

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Tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks keep people awake, but when it's time for bed, try these natural tonics to offset their stimulating effect

Fruits like orange, lemon, apple, pear, grapefruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple, and passion fruit contain vitamins, fructose and other substances that neutralize the effects of alcohol, says herbalist Dinh Cong Bay. Photo: Shutterstock

Things to eat and drink before bed

Lots of everyday fruits effectively counteract the effect of alcoholic drinks and other stimulants.

Traditional doctor Dinh Cong Bay, General Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Medicinal Materials Association, said, "It doesn't take you long to make delicious drinks which are good for health and help you recover the balance of your mind and fall asleep fast."

According to Dr. Bay, oranges, lemons, apples, pears, grapefruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, ripe papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, green beans, centella and cassava roots all contain vitamins, fructose and other substances that neutralize the effects of alcohol.

Sắn dây (arrowroot) is the most popular remedy. Ground into a powder mixed with boiling water, salt and sugar makes a great drink; juice made from squeezing its roots mixed with salt is another good way to prepare arrowroot.

To make arrowroot gruel, cook 100g of rice before adding 16g of arrowroot powder. Sugar and green beans may be added as well.

Also, it is possible to make arrowroot tea with lotus leaves. Boil 30g of sliced arrowroot root and half a chopped lotus leaf until 750ml of water remains. Drink 2-3 times throughout the day.

Arrowroot flowers also work. Take 10-15g of flowers boiled in 300ml of water (50g of green beans can be added).

Fresh lemons are also very helpful. Lemonade or lemon slices including the peel eaten with sugar can help. Salted lemons mixed with sugar can make a good drink, too.

Drinks made from apricots are also great before bed. Two apricots sliced and boiled with some crushed dry tangerine skin in 500ml of water make a healthy drink.

Fresh sugarcane juice is actually very healthy when mixed with ginger; or try cooking green beans in water with some sugarcane juice for a tasty dish.

Rice gruel, cooked with centella (rau má) and green beans (100g of fresh centella, 50g of green beans and 50g of rice) is best served hot with sugar or salt.

Drinks made from fruits can be very beneficial for sleeping soundly. Blend 500g of fresh ripe bananas, 300g of sliced tomatoes, two spoonfuls of orange juice, one spoonful of lemon juice and half a bowl of crushed ice to make an instant tasty drink.

Passion fruit mixed with orange, apple, grape, pear, pineapple or custard apple to make healthy drinks which help discharge toxic substances, calm the nerves and improve urinary function. Loaded with antioxidants, passion fruit is also a laxative that helps protect the cardiovascular system and promotes sound sleep.

Things to avoid before sleeping

Many favorite late night snacks which are popular, especially after a night of drinking, have a negative impact on sleep.

Noodles contain starch which turns into fat upon digestion. It increases one's blood sugar, which inhibits sleep.

Almost nothing makes the stomach work harder than pizza. The tomato sauce, meat and cheese contain a lot of acid and fat which are hard to digest and make it hard to have a nice sleep.

Meats like pork, beef, goat and lamb contain large quantities of protein and fat which are hard for the digestive system to handle and hence, are not conducive to a good night's rest.

Cereals high in sugar and starch and hinder the body's ability to relax. If you are hungry at night, you should only eat food made from whole grains.

Garlic, known as a "hot herb," is also difficult to digest and should not be ingested before bed.

Celery improves urination, so much so that it may lead to sleep interrupted by frequent trips to the restroom.

Candy may cause nightmares because sugar stimulates unusual brainwaves. A recent study shows that seven out of 10 people eating candy before bedtime have nightmares.

Ice cream, obviously rich in sugar and fat, is not advisable to eat it before bed.

Dark chocolate contains significant levels of caffeine and other stimulants like theobromine that increase the heart rate, making it more difficult to sleep peacefully. If you must have chocolate before bed, you should eat white chocolate, which does not contain theobromine and is low in caffeine.

Alcoholic drinks cause us to fall asleep fast but health experts warn they do not promote deep sleep and negatively impact our overall health.

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