Sleep better: eat these 5 foods
Because I’m in the sleep industry, many people ask me for tips on how to enhance their sleep. Whilst this can depend on many things, stress being the most obvious, one of the main culprits is what we put in our mouth. Nutritionist Lisa Kim shares the top 5 foods guaranteed to make you sleep better.
Your road to being able to sleep better could start with a simple half- to one cup of cottage cheese before you turn in for the night. Cottage cheese is a perfect source of protein before bed since it contains slow-digesting casein proteins that will distribute the amino acids to the muscle tissues for hours to come. In addition to this, it’s really going to help improve your sleep as it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which will naturally induce sleep in the body and help you get a better night’s rest. Yes, the idea that turkey has enough tryptophan to knock you out is a little farfetched, but the amino acid does facilitate serotonin production and serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. Pair your cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural almond butter to keep the body satisfied for the overnight fast to come.
While most people think of porridge as a breakfast food, it does work well in the evening due to the fact that the carbohydrates cause a serotonin release in the body. Serotonin is a ”feel good” hormone that decreases stress and puts you in a much calmer state of mind. Since porridge is also a slower digesting source of carbohydrates, you won’t have to worry about waking up halfway through the night with crashing blood sugar levels. Slice up half an apple and add to your porridge, along with a bit of cinnamon. Serve with a splash of skim milk if desired.
Peanuts or peanut butter
Another food that you should consider if you often have difficulty falling asleep is peanuts or natural peanut butter. Peanuts are a rich source of niacin, which is another nutrient that helps to increase the release of serotonin in the system. They are slightly higher in both fat and calories, so you’ll want to keep your portion sizes under control. However, when peanuts or peanut butter are eaten in moderation, they are definitely the perfect addition to any diet plan. Try having a piece of whole grain toast smeared with peanut butter for best results.
You might have heard it before and just chalked it up to an old wives tale, but having a glass of warm milk before bed can actually promote faster sleep. The reason behind this is due to the fact that milk also contains that tryptophan amino acid, and for most people, the warm liquid provides a soothing effect and will have a very relaxing effect. Additionally, milk also offers up a good dose of calcium, which works in the brain to help regulate the production of melatonin, which is a substance that’s going to naturally control your sleep-wake cycle. Add a teaspoon of honey if you prefer to sweeten it up and provide a bit of carbohydrates that will further cause a serotonin release.
Finally, the last food that you’ll want to consider having before bed to help promote a restful night’s sleep is grapes. Grapes are the only fruit found to contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, so by adding them regularly to your diet, you can help boost the natural sleep-wake cycle in the body. This will then allow you to get to sleep faster each night. Toss some sliced grapes into a small bowl of yogurt for added calcium, and you’ll have a perfect before-bed snack.