It is often said that ‘you are what you eat’ – glowing skin, strong shiny hair and a healthy body can all be attributed to eating the right things. But did you know the same can also be said for getting a good night’s sleep?
Some foods and drinks are your friends and others your foes when it comes to making sure you are properly set up for restful sleep. The team at The Snoozery have the following suggestions to help you drift off:
When someone is deficient in magnesium, research shows the most common symptom is insomnia. Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, which both help to naturally reduce muscle and nerve function while also regulating the rhythm of your heart.
Honey contains glucose, which tells your brain to shut off orexin - the chemical known to control and increase alertness. We like a to dissolve a small teaspoon in a mug of warm milk as dairy has the added benefit in being rich in amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of the sleep inducing brain chemicals, serotonin and melatonin.
To further increase your melatonin intake, regularly adding a handful of cherries in to your diet can help regulate your sleep cycle. Other sources are nuts and oats (could be a good excuse to practice your baking skills with some healthy flapjack!)
Restless Legs Syndrome is a common condition and manifests in a constant urge to move the legs, often accompanied by a tingling feeling which can disrupt sleep and make it difficult to get comfortable. It is often indicative of a shortage of iron which can be found in abundance in spinach and other leafy greens.
The high level of sugar in milk and white chocolate are stimulants, however over 65% cocoa dark chocolate contains significant levels of serotonin, which relaxes your body and mind.
Camomile, passion-flower and valerian tea have been found to have mild sedative effects. Look for blends with these magic herbs as well as lavender or lemon-balm which also help to de-stress and relax.
Food and drink which is not your friend at bedtime...
It won’t be news to you that if you want to drift off to sleep easily, it is best to say no to that cappuccino after dinner. However did you know that although the stimulant effect of caffeine reaches its peak 1-4 hours after it is consumed, some people can feel its effects up to 12 hours later? Try switching your afternoon cuppa for a fresh mint tea which is a great decaffeinated pick-me-up.
Fatty and high sugar foods
Foods which have high fat levels or are packed with processed sugars put stress on your body and send your auto-response systems in to overdrive. You are more likely to feel weary and sluggish instead of relaxed and restful as these foods place high demands on your digestive tract. Grilling food instead of frying is a great alternative, as is switching to natural sweeteners such as dates and maple syrup.
Too much alcohol decreases the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep we all need and disrupts the body’s natural rhythms. It causes blood sugar levels to drop, so you may wake up in the middle of the night feeling weak or disorientated. Alcohol is also dehydrating so you are likely to wake up feeling in desperate need of water.
Indigestion and heartburn come hand in hand with spicy foods and this is aggravated further when you lie down to sleep. Try to make sure you eat your favourite hot meals for lunch instead of dinner when possible. If you really can’t resist that Friday night curry then a soothing ginger or fennel herbal tea before bed can help settle any post-Vindaloo pain!