Getting a good night’s sleep seems almost impossible. In fact, you’re probably more likely to get hit by lightning than have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep these days #truth. Fret not, there could be something to help with your Z’s situation? Sure, we’ve given you advice before to avoid heavy meals before bedtime (and we still stand by that btw), however there are foods that - if eaten in moderation and probably a good hour before sleep - can actually help with a quality slumber. So, without further ado, these are the foods for a better night’s sleep.
Your mummy or grandma were probably on the money when they’d make you drink a glass of milk (and Nesquik) before bed. See, milk is a sleep inducer because it contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that raises levels of melatonin and serotonin, both of which contribute to a good night’s sleep. Also, milk is rich in calcium and magnesium, and some studies suggest that both together also boosts the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep. In short, milk is a double-sleep-winner.
Who doesn’t love a bowl of cherries in the summertime? But did you know that tart cherries are packed with a significant amount of naturally occurring melatonin. In fact, they’re the only natural food source of this sleep-regulating chemical. You could even drink tart cherry juice just before bed to help relieve insomnia. Need more convincing? Cherries also aid digestion and are low on the glycemic index, making them a great choice as they are low in sugar. P.S. If fresh cherries are out of season, the dried kind will do, too!
Yes, yes, don’t be confused. This is still a post about getting a good night’s sleep. We all know bananas are a great treat when you need a quick energy boost, but they’re also pretty helpful in the “get me the fk to sleep” department. See, bananas are loaded with nutrients - potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B, which help produce melatonin (the sleepy hormone) and naturally relax the muscles. Also, bananas contain tryptophan (like milk) to encourage sleep, too.
While there’s no actual proof to support the effectiveness of tea as a sedative, many people find that a hot herbal cuppa as part of their bedtime ritual helps relieve the stress of the day and boosts relaxation. Chamomile in particular is the showstopper here, known for its healing properties to help reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. Chamomile also contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
Lavender and Valerian tea are also sleep-time favourites, they don’t only smell amazing but their calming properties can decrease heart rate and blood pressure, so you can easily chillax.
Porridge may be your go-to breakfast, but it’s also helps aid sleep. Just a bowl of oats contain a small amount of vitamin B3 (and anti-stress vitamin), as well as magnesium, a mineral which aids in muscle and nerve relaxation. Oats are also rich in minerals and amino acids and are a natural source of melatonin for added sleepiness. Bonus: make a small bowl of porridge with some milk for a double-dose of sleep aid.
Sure, almonds are packed with healthy fats and make a great snack between meals, but they’re also bursting with tryptophan and magnesium, which both help to naturally relax muscles and nerve function - in turn boosting sleep quality. Magnesium also helps reduce inflammation and reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which, let’s face it, can only be an advantage for a good night’s sleep.