What to eat for a good night’s sleep
Wish sleep was as easy as switch off, lie down, roll over, shut eyes?
Unfortunately, for many of us, it's much more complex. While there can be diverse reasons as to why we fail so miserably at sleep, the effect of sustenance on our slumber is something we often overlook.
We know that certain foods, like caffeine and sugar, can stimulate the nervous system and get our brains buzzing. On the flip side, the right nosh can soothe us into a sleep-inducing state. Here are five foods that are a remedy for restlessness.
CALL IT A NIGHT WITH CARBS
Carb-cutting diets can be denying you of essential sleep chemicals, hence getting in the way of a good night between the sheets.
Instead of wiping them out altogether, choose your carbs wisely, and add a portion-controlled variety to your evening meal, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa or sweet potato.
Including carbs on your afternoon plate helps to increase the level of tryptophan (an essential amino acid) in your blood, which your body converts into serotonin.
Often known as the "happy hormone", serotonin induces a cool, calm and collected state - one that's optimal for sliding into slumber.
Stressed at work? Unable to unwind? Have a warm cup of camomile and let relaxation settle in.
This wonder herb is caffeine-free and full of chrysin, an antioxidant with proven sedative effects.
It's so successful in tackling tiredness that is often used as a remedy for insomnia and other sleep disorders.
CHEW AWAY THE DAY WITH CHERRIES
These summer sensations really are the cherry on top.
They contain four sleep-regulating chemicals - melatonin, tryptophan, potassium and serotonin. Together, they lull you into a lie down by delivering a blissful dose of drowsiness.
Cherries are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that improve cognitive function, including your ability to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
And it doesn't matter whether you chew or slurp your cherries. Research indicates that tart cherry juice is as better form as any for improving the overall duration and quality of sleep.
ALERT SLEEP HORMONES WITH ALMONDS
These low-sugar, protein-packed bites are night-time saviours as they are rich in
magnesium - a masterful relaxant essential for easing tired and aching muscles.
Almonds also dish up heart healthy fats and fibre, which stabilises blood sugar levels (reducing the likelihood of the 2am zombie walk to the fridge).
If you're worried about your waistline, just stick to the recommended handful a day (30g).
BE RIPE FOR REST WITH BANANAS
Bananas might make your body sing; but they also make your body sleep.
They provide a natural source of potassium - a potent mineral that helps calm the nervous system.
Further, a super serving of B vitamins assists your body in converting tryptophan into serotonin.