Foods to Sleep by for Vocal Health

Foods to sleep by for Vocal Health

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things a voice professional needs. When we get the proper amount of sleep, at least 7 hours, our body is refreshed, strong and full of energy.  The strength, power, clarity and focus of our voice is very dependent on our body. If we feel weak and depleted then our voice will more than likely sound the same way. A good nights sleep is crucial for quality vocal health. While exercise and mental clarity are definitely important for a good nights sleep, diet is equally important.

Vocal Health and Eating before sleeping

The body needs to “rest” while sleeping. If we eat up to three hours before sleeping, then our digestive system is working very hard digesting our meal, taking energy that should be storing up as we sleep. This energy is also needed to restore and heal whatever our body and voice is going through even if it is just basic repair from the days normal activities. In addition to, and even more important is the effect of eating before sleeping on the voice.

Eating before sleeping is one of the most common reasons voice professionals have GERD, also known as acid reflux. Many times because of eating before sleeping and lying down while digesting, food is not able to digest properly and excess acid from the stomach can move up into the throat and sit on the vocal cords causing a myriad of problems ranging from waking up with mucus on the cords to inflammation and even vocal cord deterioration.

Eating the wrong foods before sleeping can also lead to a difficult nights sleep due to the effects on the brain. Sugars, white flour, processed foods, dyes, fried foods, glutens and carbohydrates all effect the brain negatively not allowing it to slow down and rest while sleeping.

Tryptophan for Vocal Health

It is important for voice professionals to know what to eat before they sleep to get a good nights sleep. One amino acid that is very useful in helping the body to slow down and rest peacefully is tryptophan. Tryptophan helps to combat depression, stabilize moods, and insomnia. It also helps to alleviate stress, is good for migraine headaches, and aids in weight control by reducing appetite.

If you must eat within three hours of going to sleep, try eating smaller amounts of food and eating foods with high levels of tryptophan. Some excellent sources of foods containing tryptophan and have a low potential to create mucus include:

Alaskan salmon
Asparagus

Baked potatoes with their skin
Beans

Brown rice
Chicken breast
Cod
Eggs
Halibut

Hazelnuts
Hummus 
Kelp  
Lentils
Meats
Nuts ( sprouted not roasted )
Quinoa

Seaweed
Sesame seeds
Shrimp
Snapper
Soy protien
Spinach
Spirulina
Tuna
Turkey
Winter Squash

Certainly this list is not all inclusive and there may be some foods that do not digest well in one person and are okay for another. Each person needs to know what works for them and their vocal regimen.
As a voice professional your vocal health must be one of the top priorities in your life. Get the right amount of sleep and eat properly to insure your voice delivers for you when you need it to.

As always, I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health

David Aaron Katz