Sleep deficiency is one of the most common problems faced by people of all ages these days. Popping pills is dangerous, so why not try something natural and healthy? Go from being a nocturnal creature to a sound sleeper by making some small changes in your diet.
If sleep disorders are troubling you, then the trick might lie in certain foods for better sleep. After a day’s work, travelling and crazy sessions at work, all one wants is nothing but a good night’s sleep. Everybody wants to be able to sleep like a baby every time they hit the bed. But for many of us patting ourselves to sleep is a Herculean task. So is there a solution to better sleep sure there is. Instead of soothing lullabies, try these foods that will help you discover your inner sleeping beauty!
The high levels of B vitamins in legumes, such as black eyed peas and lentils, also help calm your nervous system. Legumes can be a great choice for an evening meal because they often replace animal protein, which can cause sleep problems, eat them only in moderation.
Milk has some tryptophan, an amino acid that has a sedative-like effect, and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan.
Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.
Cherries boost the body’s supply of melatonin, and they’re packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help you get a good night’s sleep.
Popcorn helps create the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin in our brains; it can be helpful in falling asleep. But skip the butter and oil; air-popped is best.
Almonds contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. They help promote sleep by switching you from your alert adrenaline cycle to your rest-and-digest cycle.
As a high-glycaemic food, bread can definitely help you feel sleepy, especially if you eat it within four hours of going to bed. But avoid it if you’re trying to stay slim; it’ll pack a rise in blood sugar that could cause weight gain.
Try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
Packed with healthy carbohydrates, bananas can help you slow down a little bit. They, too, contain tryptophan, as well as substances that promote the production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep and muscle relaxation.
Same as milk, but with more protein to boot, so it’s a satisfying snack before bed. Just choose a sugar-free, low-fat variety to avoid weight gain or increase in blood sugar levels.
Protein and serotonin-boosting vitamin B6 make chickpeas a great choice for a relaxing late-night snack. Keep some chickpea salad in the fridge.
Drinking green tea throughout the day can help you feel calmer. It may also help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnoea.
It’s rich in calcium and magnesium, and the perfect partner for some bananas, milk and honey, making oatmeal a great choice for suppers.
Choose a low-sugar fortified cereal as another great late-night snack that will help you drift off to sleep. The complex carbohydrates in many cereals can increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, and fortified cereals are often a great source of vitamin B6.
The carbohydrates in potatoes make them another high glycaemic food that can help you sleep more peacefully.
Try a small serving of mashed potatoes with milk, topped with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.
It can help you sleep better, too. Compounds in dark chocolate have been found to reduce the production of the hormone cortisol in the brain. Eat it throughout the day to help you feel more relaxed, not right before you go to bed, since it does contain a little bit of caffeine.
It has a “mood-improving effect” that could aid in weight loss and help you relax.
Soups and stews
Soups and stews, particularly those filled with fibre-rich veggies and legumes, and low-fat casseroles are much more calming and relaxing than seared meats and hot, spicy foods.
High in proteins, eggs help improve your sleep and maintain your fitness levels thereby giving you complete protection. However, in case you suffer from high cholesterol issues, you can opt for eating only the egg white without the yolk.
Credit: PRIME Magazine Feb – Mar 2015 Issue. Reproduced with permission.
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