Evening Cheese: Effects of Consumption

Evening Cheese: Effects of Consumption


Eating cheese before bed often has adverse effects, including indigestion , nightmares , and insomnia . The causes of insomnia are many: psychological stress , anxiety and depressive states ; seasonal changes shift work ; organic disorders  of various kinds (e.g.  joint and muscle pain , obstructive sleep apnea ,  uncontrolled arterial hypertension and palpitations perceived as tachycardia ,  gastroesophageal reflux       ,  urinary incontinence  – nocturia – etc.). Among these, even an incorrect diet can hinder sleep hygiene .

Cheese consumption and insomnia

Although cheese has a reputation for causing  vivid nightmares and disturbed sleepless nights, recent evidence actually suggests the opposite is true. This is due to some of the vitamins and nutrients contained in cheese which would make it a suitable food to be eaten for dinner, even late in the evening, before going to sleep . For example, low-fat cheeses are particularly rich in tryptophan , an amino acid that promotes the release of the hormone serotonin . Serotonin is a neurotransmitterwhich promotes relaxation of body and mind, and is an integral part of managing the sleep-wake cycle.

In addition to high levels of tryptophan, cheese is also high in calcium . This mineral is particularly effective in reducing stress  and  stabilizing nerve fibers, which results in improved nerve function: the nervous system becomes more stable and allows for relaxation. Calcium can even affect nerve fibers in the brain , so it’s not just the body that starts to relax after eating cheese. Consuming a small portion of cheese before bed could also help prevent diabetes- related sleep disorderspoor power supply . A good snack before going to bed, for example, could be made up of cheese and bread in small quantities, a valid combination of carbohydrates and proteins capable of satiating and promoting prolonged restful sleep .

A cheese to eat before going to bed that does not disturb sleep (potentially even encouraging it) is ricotta  , thanks  to its high tryptophan content, which favors the release of serotonin and allows relaxation.

Suitable foods before sleep

In addition to cheese, there are other foods that can promote healthy sleep.

  • Lean meats, such as turkey breast and chicken , are high in tryptophan, just like soft cheese .
  • Herbs : Sage and basil can help relieve tension that can keep you awake.
  • Nuts :  Almonds , cashews and walnuts all help increase serotonin levels in the body.
  • Bananas : A fruit that is high in magnesium and potassium , both of which are key minerals related to relaxing overworked muscles .
  • Fish :  Rich in vitamin B6 , which promotes melatonin production, allowing for healthy and regular sleep cycles.
  • Milk: A warm cup of milk has long been recommended before bed to aid sleep, but there’s a scientific reason behind it: The high levels of calcium in the drink relieve stress and stabilize nerves .
  • Leafy greens: High in calcium , they also help reduce stress on muscles and nerves.

Did you know that Grana cheese…

Milk and cheeses , being very important food sources of tryptophan, calcium and vitamins B , are ideal in a healthy and balanced diet, and promote night rest. Grana Padano DOP, in particular, is a concentrate of milk but contains less fat than the whole milk with which it is produced, since it is skimmed during its processing. In addition to having excellent quantities of calcium and high biological value proteins , including tryptophan, this cheese is also rich in vitamins such as A, those of group B (B2 and B12) and minerals with antioxidant  power such as  zincand selenium . Drinking a glass of warm milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed ) before bedtime can help you sleep without weighing your stomach down .

Tryptophan, the amino acid of good sleep

Tryptophan  is an essential amino acid precursor of serotonin , involved in mood regulation, melatonin, involved in sleep cycles and niacin or vitamin B6. Low tryptophan levels are associated with insomnia,  depression , mood swings , irritability, and aggression. It is useful to help restore the physiological mechanisms that regulate sleep. Since tryptophan cannot be synthesized by the body, it must be introduced with the diet or with specific  supplements .

Foods to avoid before bed

There are also a variety of foods that can negatively impact restful sleep at night, such as:

  • Fatty Foods:  The production of acid from fatty acids causes indigestion and heartburn .
  • Alcohol : Harmful to later stages of sleep and often responsible for disrupted sleep cycles throughout the night.
  • Hot Chocolate Drinks : When it comes to caffeine avoidance , the biggest culprits are coffee and cola, but chocolate also contains high levels of insomnia-causing caffeine.


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