Featured

What to eat for better sleep?

 What to eat for better sleep?



D
o you struggle to nod off or find waking up throughout the night? You're not alone.Thanks to lockdown,research has shown that Brits are losing an hour of sleep each night and, with the uncertainty and anxiety we're all feeling during this time, 38% of us are being kept awake. But you don't have to rely on counting sheep and herbal remedies to tackle the problem adding certain foods into your diet can also influence your sleep, we asked our experts what you should be putting on your plate, an how to make small changes to your daily routine. Here's the lowdown.

Why do we need sleep?

"During sleep, your body is given the opportunity to repair any damage caused by general wear and tear from the day, and this includes the replenishment of protein and release of growth hormone,' says nutritionist for Healthspan UK Rob Hobson. Sleep is also a time when the brain processes thoughts and memories from the day.



How is food linked?

The link between diet and sleep not that straightforward, and you will not find a miracle cure for sleep deprivation in your kitchen cupboards or fridge,'says Rob."However certain foods and the nutrients they contain may influence our sleep, as will the timing and eating behaviours that you choose to adopt.

WHAT SHOULD WE EAT?

Certain foods can boost sleep owing to the nutrients they contain, Here are just a few nutrients that can aid sleep, and the foods you can eat more of to try to boost your intake.

HOW DOES IT HELPWITH SLEEP?

Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation in the body. This mineral also binds to receptors in the brain that help to quieten nerve activity and prepare your body for sleep.

HOW TO INCLUDE MORE:

Try making a salad using canned chickpeas and green leaves such as spinach, then top it with toasted nuts and seeds, says Rob."You could also enjoy guacamole with toasted wholemeal pitta breads or make a sleepy hot chocolate using oat milk, cocoa powder and a little honey.

 

Calcium is required to convert tryptophan to melatonin in the brain. Research** has shown that sleep disturbances may be related to low levels of calcium.

 

'Use canned salmon to make a spicy tomato-based pasta sauce or go plant-based and make a simple stir-fry using ready-marinated tofu pieces’ says Rd' Dried fruit makes a good healthy

Snakewith a little calcium added for good measure. lf you are dairy-free!then choose a milk alternative that is fortified with calcium.



Nutrient :Tryptophan

FOODS: Seeds, nuts, tofu, poultry, oily fish oats, lentils, beans, eggs

HOW DOES IT HELP WITH SLEEP?

Tryptophan is an essential acid that is used to make melatonin (the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle) in the brain. You need to team tryptophan with a carbohydrate such as rice or pasta to help with its uptake.

HOW TO INCLUDEMORE 

A chicken stir-fry with a little brown rice is a great idea.If you want something really light, then smoked salmon with a little toasted wholemeal bread is good or even a bowl of porridge topped with chopped fruit, nuts and seeds,' says Rob.

Nutrient: Vitamin B6

FOODS: Oily fish, meat,bananas,tofu, soya milk, brown rice, oats,sweet potatoes

HOW DOES IT HELP WITH SLEEP?

This vitamin is required to convert tryptophan to serotonin in the brain, which is then used to make melatonin. Vitamin B6 is depleted from the Body when under stress, so it's important to keep levels topped up if you’re suffering.

HOW TO INCLUDE MORE:

"Try roasting sweet potatoes in their skins, then peeling and chopping into cubes when cooked

(these work great in salads): says Rob Breakfast smoothies made with soya milk oats, bananas and berries offer a really big dose of vitamin B6. Switch from white to brown rice and include

at least one serving of oily fish each

week to boost your intake.

 

HOW MUCH?

The recommended amount of sleep is eight hours per night, but, according to The Sleep Council, 33% of us get five to six hours, while 7% get less than five hours.

 

HEARTBURN

"If heartburn gets the better of you, then sleep on your left-hand side as this helps to control reflux, says Rob.

Comments