Everyone talks about the importance of a healthy diet, and if you’re like us, your eating habits might change from time to time. A long day at work could lead to a late-night microwave meal. Or having friends over might result in a hearty takeaway. (mmmm Chinese or Indian)
Whatever your style is, have you ever stopped to think about how food impacts your sleep? Diet and nutrition can influence the quality of your sleep, and certain foods and drinks can make it easier or harder to get the sleep that you need.
So what foods help us sleep and what foods should we avoid? Well, it turns out there are plenty of foods that can help us to clock in those glorious zzz’s.
- Fruit: Don’t eye-roll us just yet. Fruit can be an absolute saviour for sleep. Try tart cherries for jam-packed antioxidants. Known as a ‘sleep superfood’, tart cherries contain melatonin, the sleep hormone, which can support sleep.
- Calcium: A top nutrient for helping us to relax, calcium can be found in dairy products like natural yoghurt or cheese or in leafy green vegetables like broccoli and bok choy. Get chomping, folks.
- Vitamin D: A clever vitamin that supports calcium absorption, vitamin D can be found in eggs, fatty fish and bananas. You can also give your body a boost by getting out in the sun!
- Nuts: Walnuts and almonds contain melatonin (the sleep hormone) and essential fatty acids which are thought to aid sleep and rest.
- Magnesium: Hailed as a sleep saviour for centuries, magnesium is known to reduce our levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) so that we feel more relaxed and sleep ready. Found in nuts, leafy greens and fish, fill up on these and you’ll be snoozing in no time!
Foods that can affect Sleep
- Sugar: Satisfying that sweet close to bedtime can cause our brain to go on full alert and give us a hit of energy. No more late-night biscuits for us!
- Alcohol: Leaving a couple of hours between your last drink and when you hit the sack could save your sleep. Even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it actually reduces your sleep which can lead to you waking up feeling groggy. And we all know where that leads (hello again, comfort food).
So, there you have it, eat, drink, be merry, sleep well. And you’ll enjoy brighter mornings in no time!