A lack of sleep becomes exhausting: It’s a drain on us emotionally, physically and mentally, affecting our mood and wellbeing.
Studies show that a lack of sleep (7 hours or more) can actually cause depression, decreased attention spans, increased weight gain and a lowered immune system. Sleep deprivation can also have financial repercussions, as a result of lost productivity, absenteeism and even work-related accidents!
So it’s clear that a good nights sleep is so vital to our health, and certain foods play a positive – and negative – role in affecting the quality of our sleep.
Tweaking your diet can have a profound effect on your sleep – and its simple to do. Getting key minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron from our diet can really kickstart your sleep regulating hormone melatonin!
So which are the best foods for a good night’s sleep?
Eating a magnesium-rich banana before bed can induce muscle relaxation and serenity in your mind. They also help convert melatonin, which is essential for deeper sleep.
Kale and other leafy green vegetables are rich in fibre, helping curb cravings during the night and also assist in the production of your sleep hormone melatonin too.
3. Tart Cherries
Melatonin is abundant in cherries (especially tart cherries) which thus helps to regulate your sleep cycle, meaning you will be tired at bedtime and experience an increase of energy in the mornings! They also contain antioxidants which work alongside melatonin to help you maintain a deeper sleep for longer.
Not my personal favourite, BUT sardines (as well as tuna and salmon) are abundant in Omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce anxiety, which can often keep us awake at night.
This is a great alternative to fatty fish, as a means of getting more Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet. It also contains magnesium and amino acids to help induce a sense of calm and relaxed muscles.
Alternatively, to use a clean non-GMO vegan source of Omega 3, together with synergistic balances of Omegas 5, 6, 7 & 9 all from seeds, you can try these omegas which I take. Containing scientifically proven ingredients and minimally processed, they are beautifully absorbed by our body!
But what should you also be avoiding when it comes to a good nights sleep?
Most of us know to avoid caffeine in the evening – but we actually should avoid it from the afternoon onwards…. And that includes decaf too!!! Decaf still contains caffeine – averaging around 7mg per cup, so if you are sensitive to sleep, decaf drinks can still trigger a bad nights sleep! Switch to herbal teas – especially those which help promote sleep, such as chamomile, lavender lemon balm and passion flower.
2. Dark Chocolate
Yup, sorry ladies! But dark chocolate also contains caffeine – equivalent to 1/4 cup of coffee – plus sugar too, which is a stimulant for our brain. Keep it as a treat in the early afternoon – as it does have some health benefits!
There’s the old saying that eating cheese before bedtime gives you nightmares…. Well, research shows that it’s true! It actually causes restless dreams and affects our mood before bed.
5. Red Wine
Whilst we may have a glass to relax us in the evening, red wine, whilst acting like a sedative, actually affects your deeper REM sleep, meaning you will wake up later in the night. Try to enjoy a glass with your evening meal and at least an hour before you go up to bed.
6. Spicy Food
You may be partial to a curry for your evening meal, but spices such as chillies can increase your body temperature, causing you a restless night of sleep.
And as a final note, try to eat ALL foods 2-3 hours before bed – ideally before 6pm, to give your digestive system plenty of time to rest… Eating too close to bedtime can really disrupt your sleep – and even cause acid reflux… So eat early, and then spend your evening relaxing.