What foods can help you sleep?

Have you ever been told to avoid eating cheese before going to bed? Many believe that this dairy treat may give us bad dreams, alongside many other myths surrounding what we should and shouldn’t eat before bed for a better nights sleep.

Myths aside, recent studies have shown that we actually just need a good balance of the naturally produced sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system.

How do you ensure that serotonin and melatonin are present in your system though? The answer is by keeping on top of your vitamin B6 and tryptophan intake. These are needed to boost the hormone levels and they are found in more foods than you realise.

  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Tofu
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Milk

These are some of the main foods you eat daily which are naturally keeping your serotonin and melatonin levels up. Meaning that drinking a glass of milk before going to bed can help to induce sleep.

Other sleep-inducing foods include oats and lettuce, although granted, oats are usually a food best left to enjoy in the mornings!

Always avoid skipping breakfast, if you can, as this is vital to stabilising your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. Helping you to produce the melatonin, eating a balanced breakfast can prepare your body not only for the day ahead, but will also enable you to sleep later on.

Try and include a source of protein such as a nut butter on your toast, or toss a few ground almonds on your porridge to really boost your breakfast!

But now you know what’s good to eat to get a good nights sleep, what food do you need to avoid to ensure you have a good rest?

Caffeine and alcohol are the main culprits for disrupting your slumber as they are stimulants. Caffeine has a direct impact on reducing sleep quality. The half-life of caffeine is approximately 5hours. This means that it can take up to 10 hours to completely remove all of the caffeine from your body if you drink a cup of tea or coffee.

If you are having problems sleeping or are waking up feeling tired no matter how much sleep you get, minimise caffeine and increase your fluid intake by drinking more water, herbal teas and dilute fruit juices.

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