What To Eat To Sleep Better
Sleep is very important for our overall health. Adults who do not rest well during the night often report to be tired during the week. Sleep is important for keeping our immune system, skin and heart healthy.
Sleep Hormone Melatonin
One of the crucial components is melatonin which is produced by the brain’s pineal gland, but can also be found in the form of a supplement. Melatonin regulates our circadian clock which is basically an internal clock telling our bodies when it is time to sleep, and when to be active. Melatonin levels are highest during the night, and drop off in the morning. Foods rich in melatonin are eggs, milk, grapes, tomatoes, nuts including almonds, and oats to name a few.
Some people cannot go to bed hungry, and this is why it is important to choose your bed-time snack wisely. Eating heavy food at night can result in sleepless nights and digestion problems. Here are some foods to help you sleep better, but also to wake up refreshed in the morning:
Kiwis are rich in vitamins A and C, but also in folate and serotonin. Other beneficial sleep-promoting compounds found in kiwis are potassium, magnesium, calcium and flavonoids. All of these ingredients will help you sleep through the night.
Foods with soy (tofu, miso, edamame) are rich in isoflavones which increase the production of serotonin. Edamame is also rich in magnesium which is a mineral linked to uptick of mood disorders. Besides calming you down, magnesium regulates the circadian rhythm. Other foods rich in magnesium are spinach, bananas, seeds etc.
Fiber-rich foods (beans, artichoke, quinoa) prevent blood sugar surges that may lower the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Dairy products such as yogurt and milk provide calcium which helps with sleep. Other sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables like kale.
Besides being rich in potassium, bananas are a good source of vitamin B6 which necessary for melatonin production.
People who have a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fish, walnuts, avocado, flaxseed) have better and more consistent sleep pattern than those who do not consume these healthy fats. A study found correlation between intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and better sleep quality.
Foods rich in vitamin D can help to maintain regular and healthy sleep pattern. Low blood levels of vitamin D have been correlated to poor sleep patterns and less sleep hours as reported in a meta-analysis study. Besides consumption from foods like salmon, mushrooms and dairy, vitamin D can be obtained from UV exposure. Approximately 15 to 20 min of sun exposure per day makes the body produce the amount you need.
What Can You Do?
Since sleep is so important to us, it is crucial to provide proper conditions for good night’s rest. It is important to snack before sleep, not have a full meal. A heavy meal can make you uncomfortable and unable to sleep. Avoid spicy food, consume alcohol moderately and limit the intake of drinks rich in caffeine.
Changing your diet is one of the easier ways to improve your sleep pattern. Choose wholegrain bread and pasta over white ones. Consuming the abovementioned foods will help you sleep. However, you can consume other foods as well just make sure you keep the combination of calcium, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, and B6.