We all know that sleep is very important for our overall health and well-being. We know sleep affects everything from mood to work performance to weight, so if you knew what foods to eat to help you sleep, wouldn’t that be tasty.
A handful of nuts throughout the day are not only great for your health, but they could actually help you sleep better. Unsaturated fats that are found in abundance in nuts will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios are all great sleep foods. Almonds are rich in magnesium and research suggests when magnesium levels are too low it is harder to stay asleep, whilst walnuts are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps to create serotonin and melatonin.
- Go Green
Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and lettuce and fresh herbs like sage and basil are all great sleep aids. A nice salad at dinner will not only greatly assist you in your health goals but will also assist you in getting a deep and restful sleep, which in turn will help you further with your health goals. Fresh herbs are calming to the body and help reduce tension. Kale is full of calcium which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin and lettuce contains lactucarium, which has valuable sedative properties.
- Go Lean
Lean proteins like low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey and fish are all high in the amino acid tryptophan, which tends to increase serotonin levels.
- Say Cheese
Calcium from cheese, yogurt and milk help the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. Calcium also helps regulate muscle movements to give you a more relaxed sleep.
- Drinks anyone?
There are many drinks that can hinder a sleep and many that can put you in a good state that is conducive to sleep. The old favourite warm milk is the tried and tested sleep helper whilst herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint are great choices for getting that good, deep sleep.
- Go Whole
Embrace whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and brown rice. A high complex carbohydrate meal stimulates the release of insulin, which helps clear amino acids that compete with tryptophan, which allows more natural sleep-inducing amino acid to enter the brain and manufacture serotonin and melatonin for a better night’s sleep.
(Photo courtesy of www.onegreenplanet.org)