Sleep disturbance after the major surgery of a joint replacement is common, causing lots of frustration. The “surgical stress response“, the body’s hormonal and metabolic response to the trauma of surgery, is quite profound and has an important effect on the subsequent amount and quality of sleep. The more complex the surgery, it seems, the more significant is the stress response and the accompanying sleep disturbance. Pain, and the medications used to treat pain, sedatives, food deprivation, fever, psychological factors, age, and a person’s usual sleep profile all affect sleep after surgery. Pain is a major factor, in two ways. Pain decreases sleep, and, conversely, inadequate sleep exacerbates pain. However, here are some foods and drinks which may encourage sleeping..... Bananas contain melatonin and serotonin, chemicals known to help the body sleep, as well as magnesium. Other sleep-inducing foods include: Almonds: Almonds contain both tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a sedative, and magnesium, which acts as a muscle relaxant. Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea's mild sedating effect has helped many restless people fall asleep. Flax seeds: Flax seeds are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are natural mood lifters and can prepare your body and mind for sleep. Honey: Consuming too much sugar before bedtime can keep you awake. However, eating just a little glucose before hitting the sack alerts your brain to stop producing orexin, a neurotransmitter that keeps us alert. Add a little honey to your tea or milk prior to bedtime. Milk and Dairy Products: Milk and dairy products contain tryptophan and calcium, both of which help the brain effectively use tryptophan. Oatmeal: Oatmeal contains melatonin, which prepares your body for sleep. To up its effectiveness, make your oatmeal with milk and top it with a drizzle of honey. Potatoes: Eating a small baked potato or a small serving of mashed or roasted potatoes will clear your body of acids that can block the effects of tryptophan. Turkey: As many Thanksgiving diners know, turkey contains tryptophan. To get the most from the tryptophan in turkey, eat a slice of white turkey meat on a slice of whole-wheat bread in the middle of the evening. Whole-Wheat Bread: Eating a slice of whole-wheat bread will trigger your body to release insulin, which can help deliver tryptophan to your brain. Once in your brain, the tryptophan is converted to serotonin. Disclaimer: The information on dietary factors, foods, and beverages contained in this article does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, and interactions. It is not intended as medical advice for individual problems. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the contents of this article is expressly disclaimed. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions including the taking of supplements.