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Summarize the passage about the effects of food on sleep in about 100 words.

 
How You Sleep is What You Eat

Are You having problems feeling sleepy when you want to be alert and vice-versa? Perhaps you need to look at your diet, as it may be the culprit. The brain's state of sleepiness or alertness, calmness or anxiousness is said to be determined by messengers in the body called neuro-transmitters.

One of these which is called serotonin helps us feel calm and relaxed. Researchers have found that eating large amounts of carbohydrate foods, such as sweets, potatoes and grain products increases brain levels of serotonin. High-protein meals or snacks, consisting mostly of meat, on the other hand, tend to cause brain levels of serotonin to remain low.

A French study that varied the amount of carbohydrate fed to subjects found that an intake of carbohydrate with an equal serving of protein products did not cause drowsiness. But when very large amounts of carbohydrate were provided without protein, subjects reported feeling drowsy. This drowsiness occurred even after exercise which normally causes people to feel more alert.

We can take advantage of these findings to determine when to stay alert or to get some sleep. A snack that is largely carbohydrate-based may relax us and make it easier for us to fall asleep. On the other hand, when you are trying to stay awake, a balanced meal that includes protein (meat, chicken, fish, dairy products or dried beans) as well as modest portions of grains, vegetables and fruit is more likely to help than loading up on a huge platter of meatless pasta.

Some experiments suggest that the effects may vary depending on the particular carbohydrate foods chosen. The ability of carbohydrates to increase brain serotonin involves a rise in insulin levels in the blood when carbohydrate is eaten. Large carbohydrate portions, or those that cause a faster rise in blood sugar such as sweets, potatoes, bread, refined cereals will cause greater increases in serotonin (and sleepiness). Fruit and dried beans contain carbohydrate that raises blood sugar more slowly, and so would not be expected to raise serotonin levels as high.

But what about good nutrition? Eating to stay alert just means including some protein in our meals. However, do not overeat grain products just because they are fat-free. By including plenty of high-fiber fruit or vegetables in meals, blood sugar and insulin will rise moderately, and serotonin level in the brain will not jump dramatically.

Nevertheless when it comes to getting a good night's sleep, studies clearly show that it is more than just what we eat. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine in coffee, tannin in tea and even to soda pops, even when it is consumed as early as 5.00 p.m. Other people find that the key to a good night's sleep lies in establishing a routine pattern of pre-bedtime behaviors, keeping a consistent bedtime, getting regular exercise, and learning relaxation techniques. If you are extremely sleepy throughout the day, check your eating patterns. Do not try to compensate for lack of sleep at night by eating protein and scraping by on caffeine; adequate sleep is essential.

 
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Answer
 
Carbohydrates contain serotonin which helps make us feel calm and relaxed. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates causes drowsiness as they make us feel relaxed. However, if we want to stay alert, we should consume a balanced meal containing protein and carbohydrates. Research suggests that carbohydrates increase brain serotonin leading to a rise in insulin levels in the blood. Therefore, a correct diet helps in keeping us alert as the blood sugar, serotonin and insulin levels rise only moderately. Getting enough sleep is also necessary and to some people, it means having an adequate established routine before going to bed. ( 99 words )
     
drowsiness   being in a state between sleeping and being awake
     
scraping by   having just enough or surviving
     
 
 

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