Sleep. This magical five-letter word is elusive to so many of us. Whether it’s difficulty falling asleep or tossing and turning all night long, insomnia is becoming endemic to our modern-day society. Chronic sleep deprivation leaves us physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted as well as affecting our cognitive functioning.
For some it may seem like an easy solution, but sleeping pills can cause side effects (i)… so what’s an exhausted, bleary-eyed person to do?
Nutrition can play an important role in helping you get a good night’s rest, but it can also be one of the reasons why you are not getting a good night sleep. Eating too large of a meal close to bedtime may impair sleep, having unbalanced blood sugars, skipping meals and consuming to many stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate and consuming refined carbohydrates and sugar can all be problems that can negatively impact sleep. If you’re interested in more information like this, check out our post on 12 Nutrition “Hacks” For Better Sleep!
Top 5 Foods To Support Sleep
Bananas are high in Tryptophan which converts to serotonin, which in the absence of light converts to melatonin – an important initiator of sleep. Melatonin, is a hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles so is very helpful for people that have difficulties with regular sleep patterns or that struggling with jet lag.
Bananas are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants.
Tart cherries help increase the body’s natural melatonin production. Other fruits such as pineapples and oranges have also been shown to significantly increase the presence of melatonin. (iii)
Oats are a source of complex carbohydrates that stimulate the release of serotonin and allow a more restorative sleep. (iv) Check out our Chia Oat Parfait With Kiwi recipe for a great bedtime snack idea!
Almonds are rich in magnesium, which relaxes muscles and helps you unwind, inducing that sleepy state you feel before falling asleep.
Chamomile and passionflower teas can help relax nerves and muscles and help you sleep more soundly. Check out our recipe for Calming Tea for a therapeutic and delicious blends of herbs to enjoy as part of your bedtime routine
Sleep is essential for maintaining good health. Keep a sleep journal and see what works best for you. Sleep tight!
i. Proctor, Ashley, and Matt T. Bianchi. “Clinical Pharmacology in Sleep Medicine.” ISRN Pharmacology 2012 (2012): 914168. PMC. Web. 12 July 2018.
ii. Johns NP, Johns J, Porasuphatana S, Plaimee P, Sae-Teaw M. “Dietary intake of melatonin from tropical fruit altered urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in healthy volunteers”. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 2013 Jan 30;61(4):913-919
iii. McCune L.M., Kubota C., Stendell-Hollis N.R., Thomson C.A. Cherries and health: A review. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2011;51:1–12. doi: 10.1080/10408390903001719
iv.. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 85, Issue 2, 1 February 2007, Pages 426–430, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.2.426