A good night’s sleep is important to one’s health, physical and mental. Only a well rested person can function optimally during the day. Without a good night’s rest, lethargy and tiredness will definitely set in and if the lack of proper sleep lasts for a long period, the individual may break down physically.
Many people find it difficult to fall asleep once they hit the bed. Some have to struggle to get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night.
Dr. Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist and author of Natural Solutions for Dementia and Alzheimer, speaking to The Sun Online, stressed that what you eat can impact how you sleep.
“As a society we are sleeping less, the time we sleep each night has reduced from 9 hours to 7.5 hours since the 1900s. Sleep is important for your health because it gives your body time to recharge its batteries and repair cells and tissue.”
She went on to add, “When you don’t get enough or good quality sleep you can feel irritable, with poor concentration and, of course, tired.”
On what you take into your body before your sleep time she said: “What you eat can either help you to go to sleep easily or make it more difficult.”
This means that it’s important to eat certain foods to aid you get a better night’s rest, while avoiding other foods that can impede that process.
Here are some foods you should look out for to help you get a better night’s sleep and those you should avoid.
Some people use coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help them stay awake to either study for an exam or keep them awake for whatever purpose. It then means that if your goal is to sleep well, caffeine should be avoided close to bed time.
Be sure to check your beverages as some sodas contain caffeine as well.
Coconut water is a great source of electrolyte minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and sodium, which aid in getting a good night’s sleep.
When these minerals are deficient in the body or imbalanced, that may cause some cramping of the legs and restlessness at night and this in turn disturbs sleep.
Try to go for the organic coconut water rather than the processed one. Drink a glass in the evening to help you sleep better.
Eat foods high in natural serotonin
Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. As the precursor for melatonin, it helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock.
With this in mind, foods such as Eggs ( yolk inclusive ), Cheese, Pineapple, Salmon, Nuts and seeds, Chicken, Turkey, amongst others, can go a long way to help boost your serotonin levels as they are rich in tryptophan which aids serotonin production.
Have a glass of milk
Drink a glass of warm milk before you sleep. Milk is rich in tryptophan which helps with serotonin levels. It also contains magnesium and B vitamins which help to promote the activity and availability of tryptophan.
Snack on some nuts around bedtime as well. Nuts contain all the nutrients known to increase melatonin production and support its release into the body.
Say No to Wine
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t make one sleep. While it may make you sleepy for a while, it actually blocks tryptophan from getting to the brain. So what happens is you feel sleepy and maybe sleep, but you end up having a restless night. If your goal is a good night’s sleep or you have difficulty sleeping, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
Eat smaller meals and often
Instead of eating big meals, opt for smaller portions spread into 4-6 times. What this does, asides from keeping hunger at bay, is that it keeps your blood sugar levels steady and stable.
Unsteady sugar levels make it harder to sleep. Eating smaller meals also prevents the release of adrenaline and this in turn makes sure that the hormone cortisol, the other stress hormone, starts to wind down when you go to bed, as it is supposed to do.
Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat insomnia.
Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
Have a cup of chamomile tea before bed to encourage relaxation and hence a better night rest.
Have a snack before hitting the sack
While health professionals say not to eat right before bed, and this is true, certain snacks are exempt from this rule.
A snack just before you sleep keeps your blood sugar level from dropping during the night and causing you to have a restless night. When this happens you can wake up in the middle of the night feeling weak.
So, instead of relying on drugs to make you sleep, try the natural, healthier way and eat yourself to sleep.