In a recent study by Sealy UK, Brits admitted to waking up feeling tired on average four days every week. But how much of a role does our diet have on our sleep and how can we eat better to sleep better? Holly Housby, sleep expert at Sealy UK, explains which foods can help us to get more shut eye and achieve a better night’s sleep.
Yes, it is a myth that cheese gives you nightmares! Cheese, and especially mozzarella, is actually a source of tryptophan, which plays a vital role in the production of serotonin and in turn melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
It’s also worth noting that carbohydrates have been shown to make tryptophan more available to the brain, so your cheese toastie might actually be beneficial for sleep!
Oats are great for keeping your heart healthy and also contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals that collectively work to support relaxation. As a natural source of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleeping and waking cycles, oats can help to improve the quality of your slumber.
Salmon is a wonderful source of omega 3 and a good source of magnesium, Vitamin B6 and tryptophan, which all encourage the sleep-regulating hormone serotonin. It’s also worth noting, when buying salmon the wild variety can often be better due to the higher levels of healthy fats and Vitamin D.
Milk is another good source of melatonin and tryptophan. This is because cows are milked at night when their melatonin is naturally higher.
Drinking milk may help with sleeping better, meaning there is definitely nothing wrong with having a glass of milk and a cookie before bed.
As soy products are good sources of tryptophan, tofu is a great plant-based option that everyone can incorporate into their meals. Not only does tofu contain tryptophan, which can improve sleep, it’s also rich in protein and can contain calcium, both of which are sleep promoting compounds.
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. The yolks are high in vitamin D and may support towards getting better quality sleep, while they also contain tryptophan, which contributes to the production of serotonin, which helps to regulate the body sleep cycle.
Eggs are an inexpensive and delicious food, and are quick and easy to incorporate into your diet, to help improve your slumber.
Like oats, cherries are extremely high in melatonin. In addition to promoting weight loss, cherries also contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, which work alongside melatonin to help you maintain a deeper sleep for longer.
Due to its high magnesium content, avocado could be exactly what you need to drift off to sleep. Research shows that magnesium decreases your levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone” helping to calm your nervous system in preparation for sleep.