In order to keep the mind and body healthy, you have to be eating the right foods. By eating the right foods, you are helping you body throughout the day while also allowing your body to get the rest it needs at night.
Sugar, processed, high-sugar foods and refined carbohydrates. These raise the blood sugar levels and can cause a surge of energy that disturbs sleep, so it is best to avoid these food types if you want to enhance sleep.
The non-medical equivalent to a sleeping pill; containing the sleep hormone melatonin and relaxing chemical serotonin and also magnesium, that helps to relax the muscles.
Milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt and cheese are all good sources of tryptophan that helps to make serotonin; which makes us feel sleepy. Also, dairy contains calcium which helps the body to process the tryptophan and produce a second sleep inducing neurotransmitter; melatonin.
Oats are a rich source of melatonin and are filling too.
A spoon of honey in milk is an age-old remedy for insomnia. Too much sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose signals to your brain to turn off orexin, which is a neurotransmitter linked to alertness.
A slice of brown bread toast with a drink of milk and honey is delicious, but also useful. This will release insulin which enables the tryptophan (makes us sleepy), to get to the brain, where it is converted to serotonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, which in turn lets the body know it is sleep time.
Some seeds-flaxseed, jujube seeds and chia seeds can have a calming and sedative effect. Another sleep-inducing food-you can get them ground or whole. They contain both tryptophan and also magnesium that helps to relax muscles.
A small baked potato won’t send your GI tract into overload; it will clear away acids that can inhibit our sleepy friend tryptophan in order to make way for restful sleep.
Probably the best source of tryptophan. Put a slice of turkey on some wholegrain bread and you have one of the best sleep-enhancing foods that you will use.
Check out our sleep tips for shift workers here.
Lucy Wolfe CGSC, MAPSC, H.Dip RM, runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to people across the country. She is a regular guest on television and radio, writing for many magazines and online media sources. She is passionate about helping people get more sleep!
Find further sleep solutions on her website.
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