A study from The University of Pennsylvania concluded that people with the healthiest overall diet, also had the overall healthiest sleep patterns. This in my opinion is no coincidence. As the diet you eat on a regular basis, defines how you feel on a regular basis and why would this not then also effect your sleep patterns too?
So today, let’s explore the specific foods and nutrients that you should look to include more of to help you start sleeping better, naturally and without reaching for over the counter sleeping aids that can have many serious side effects.
- Eat Foods Rich In Tryptophan – Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the body go onto produce chemicals that induce sleep such as serotonin and melatonin. Foods high in tryptophan are; chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, oats, bananas, beans and lentils.
- Use Healthy Carbs To Increase The Uptake Of Tryptophan – Amino acids are competitive little things, and so by eating a healthy carbohydrate rich snack approximately one hour before bed, will help to stimulate the release of insulin and in turn, clear the amino acids in the blood stream that compete with sleep inducing tryptophan. This then ensures more tryptophan enters the brain where it is needed. Healthy carbohydrate snacks to use in this way include; organic oat crackers, organic buckwheat crackers, a bowl of gluten free organic buckwheat oat porridge or even homemade granola bars.
- Eat More Magnesium Rich Food – Magnesium is a mineral known as natures natural tranquiliser, and so it make sense that a deficiency in this mineral can go on to cause a person to be tense, as well as cause them to suffer from mild to chronic insomnia. Foods that are a rich source of magnesium include; quinoa, brown rice, bananas, almonds, cashews, spinach, and kale.
- Lettuce Tea – Lettuce not only contains magnesium which I mentioned earlier, but also contains lactucarium, which is a known natural sedative and has been reported to effect the brain in a similar way to opium.
Lettuce Tea Recipe: 1 hour before you are due to go to bed, simmer on the hob in a stainless steel pan, four large lettuce leaves in purified water, for fifteen minutes. Remove from the heat and if desired add a little fresh mint, sip and enjoy as you start to feel ready for la la land…
- Vary Your Diet – Of course getting a varied diet is preferable to eating the same foods day in day out. But the reasons why this is are often discussed very little. The main reason is to help you access a variety of nutrients from these varied foods. As eating the same foods over and over without much variety will be leaving you nutrient deficient. And the same sleep study I mentioned earlier concluded that the best sleepers had the most varied diet, with those that slept the shortest having the least varied diet.
If sleeping isn’t really your thing, and you are at the end of your tether waking night after night not feeling refreshed, then I do hope the foods I have listed help you to go on and sleep better naturally.
Author: Amy Morris head natural nutritionist and founder of Great Health Naturally.