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FOOD & SLEEP - What is the connection?

Did you know that what you eat can determine how you sleep? Our food plays a big role in the way we think, feel and act. Our food makes us who we are.

If you are suffering from insomnia or poor sleep quality, it will serve you well to take a good hard look at what you are currently eating.

Six questions to ask yourself

  1. Are you eating oily and spicy foods for dinner?

  2. Are you eating a heavy meal and going to bed immediately after?

  3. Are you having coffee or caffeine containing foods or drinks in the evening or night?

  4. Are you not hydrating yourself properly through the day?

  5. Are you skipping meals or being irregular in your food habits?

  6. Are you having too much white foods - white pasta, white bread, sugary foods, etc?

If you have said yes to any of them, you might want to replace that habit with a healthier one.

So which foods can help you sleep well?

Below is a list of 10 foods that can help you beat insomnia or get the sleep quality that you are seeking.

  1. Almonds: Almonds contain high doses of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. Take 3 -4 nuts around 6 to 7 pm and see the difference.

  2. Warm milk: Your grandmother or mother would have told you that warm milk before bed time will help you sleep well. It is true. Milk contains four sleep-promoting compounds: tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin.

  3. Kiwifruit: One small study showed that people who consumed two kiwifruits around 1 hour before bedtime for a month, slept faster and experienced improved total sleep time and sleep efficiency.

  4. Chamomile tea: Chamomile is a traditional herbal remedy for insomnia. Researchers think that a flavonoid compound called apigenin is responsible for chamomile’s sleep-inducing properties.

  5. Walnuts: Walnuts contain a few compounds that promote and regulate sleep, including melatonin, serotonin, and magnesium. Take 2-3 walnuts 2-3 hours before your sleep time.

  6. Tart cherries: Cherries are rich in sleep-regulating compounds such as melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. It is believed that antioxidants called polyphenols in tart cherries may also influence sleep regulation.

  7. Fatty fish: Fatty fish may help improve sleep because they are a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, two nutrients that help regulate serotonin. Serotonin is largely responsible for establishing a fixed sleeping and waking cycle.

  8. Barley grass powder: Barley grass powder is rich in several sleep-promoting compounds, including GABA, calcium, tryptophan, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. You can mix barley grass powder into smoothies, scrambled eggs, salad dressings, and soups.

  9. Lettuce: Lettuce and lettuce seed oil may help treat insomnia and promote a good night’s sleep. Some people claim that lettuce has a mild sedative-hypnotic effect.

  10. Bananas: Bananas contain tryptophan, potassium, and magnesium. These help relax your muscles and help you get better slumber time.

Many foods contain nutrients, chemicals, and other compounds that help control the body’s sleep cycle.

Here are a few more foods with naturally occurring melatonin:

  • Pistachios, almonds, and walnuts

  • Grapes, tomatoes, eggs, and fish

  • Spinach, kale, broccoli, and dark green vegetables

  • cereals, oatmeal, and bran flakes

  • sesame seeds, sunflower seeds,

These foods are nutritious and unlikely to cause harm. It should be safe for anyone without allergies to enjoy in moderation. To get the potential benefits, try eating them a few hours before bed to reduce the risk of indigestion and acid reflux.

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