There was a time when a warm cup of milk and a sweet biscuit was a standard bedtime remedy. But with sleep disorder one of the biggest health issues today, the range of sleep tinctures, teas and tonics has flourished into a burgeoning industry of its own. When you don’t want to pop a pill to remedy and prefer to use ‘food as your medicine’, experts recommend these foods to ease you into a deep slumber…
To boost your melatonin, consume foods high in natural melatonin such as tart cherries, grapes, pomegranate, oats, walnuts and flaxseeds, fruits and veggies. Melatonin is the hormone in our body that is associated with the control of our sleep-wake cycle.
When you have difficulty going and staying asleep, you may be lacking in magnesium, also known as the ‘sleep mineral. Magnesium-rich foods that help us relax include salmon and oily fish, nuts and seeds, bananas and dark leafy greens.
Insomniacs should up their dose of both tryptophan and calcium-rich foods. Tryptophan is an amino acid that boosts melatonin in the body while Calcium is recommended to prevent us waking up in the middle of the night and unable to return to sleep.
Foods high in Tryptophan include dairy products, turkey and chicken, salmon, sardines and oily fish, nuts and seeds, fruit and veggies, grains and legumes. Calcium-rich foods help the brain make melatonin and range from low fat yogurts and milk, sardines, soybeans, cheese and dark leafy greens like broccoli.
Do you see a pattern here? In a nutshell, eating a healthy diet should help us all sleep well.
You may also want to add more Vitamin B6 into your diet. Lack of B6 is thought to be linked to lower serotonin levels and poor sleep. Vitamin B6 helps to convert tryptophan into melatonin. Up your dose of flaxseed, tuna, salmon, dried prunes, pistachio nuts, bananas and avocado and spinach.
For night time snacks, try a handful of walnuts or cherries, and even a bowl of cereal.
There are also plenty of sleep-inducing drinks to consider. Just some of these include teas made from valerian, passionflower and chamomile, as well as tart cherry juice. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend warm milk with a dash of nutmeg.
As with all health and wellness, the best approach is to experiment to find out what works for your individual body type. Let us know in the comments what foods and remedies help you have a deliciously deep Zzzzz!