Ah sleep, you remember that? It was that amazing restorative thing we all used to do at night before we got addicted to smartphones and streaming Netflix in bed.
Quality sleep is like a powerful performance enhancing drug, only one with no side-effects. Get enough of it and you feel like you can take on the world. Get too little however and it can be an almighty struggle just to get through the day.
Study after study has confirmed what our mums already knew, that a good night’s sleep is great for our mental and physical health. Ironically just at the time medical science is letting us know just how good for us sleep really is, as a society we have never slept worse. A full one-third of Americans now report that they get less than the doctor-recommended 7-8 hours a night.
If you’re one of these million of Americans who suffer from sleep problems then it’s likely you have already tried numerous ways to fix your sleeping nightmares. You might have banned screens from your bedroom, adopted a new bedtime routine or bought some better curtains.
Have you however considered changing your diet. If you haven’t you should. What you put in your body fuels not only our actions during the daylight hours, it also fuels how well you sleep. You can find out more on this from reading this recent Sleep Advisor article.
Below we take you on a brief journey of 3 so-called ‘sleep promoters’, that is foods proven to help you get better sleep. Bon Appétit.
- The humble KiwiAh, the kiwi. New Zealand’s most famous export, after hobbits and hunky rugby players that is. The furry green fruit has been shown to be an active sleep promoter during a study conducted by Taiwan Taipei Medical University.A month trial involved 24 participants, all of whom suffered from pre-existing sleep conditions. Participants who gobbled down a couple of kiwis before bed were shown to increase their sleep duration by a very respectable 13% a night. Not only that, but the individuals who chowed down on a couple of kiwis also fell to sleep a lot quicker, a whopping 34% quicker in fact. It’s not exactly understood why kiwis have such a somnambulatory impact but researchers think it could be linked to the present of high serotonin levels in the humble fruit. Serotonin being a neurotransmitter responsible for amongst other things regulating mood, appetite, memory and sleep.
- Go nuts for nuts
I love almonds. The crunchy little legends are chocked full of magnesium which is known to aid the body in the production of serotonin (there’s that word again). Having a handful or two of almonds before bed can do wonders to get you in the sleepy mood.
I am wacky for walnuts. The nutty little crunchers contain melatonin. Another of those important hormones that swirl around our body. Melatonin is produced by the brain’s pineal gland and its primary function is to regulate your internal body clock. That being the thing that tells us when to feel sleepy.
Nuts in general make a great pre-bed snack. They are easy for the body to digest and are a great alternative to any unhealthy snacks you may find yourself desiring before retiring. A piece of toast slathered in almond butter or peanut butter may feel like a naughty treat but as long you have opted for the sugarless variety then you’re in the clear. Go nuts!
3. Colorful Turmeric
Tumeric has long been hailed for its healing properties. Ayurvedic medicine practiced throughout the Indian subcontinent for many a millennia now is certainly a big fan. Tumeric is most often used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also known to boost the immune system, lower blood sugar levels and ease digestive stress.
So if stomach issues or sugar highs are keeping you up past your bedtime, turmeric could be the solution to your sleep woes. And not only that, have a few pots of the bright yellow powder on your shelf is a great colorful addition to your kitchen’s color palette.
In India, “Golden Milk” is often prescribed as soothing pre-bed night cap. The recipe is super simple, just take a cup of hot milk and stir in a teaspoon of turmeric. Ginger and cinnamon can be added for taste.
Well, there you have my fellow sleep-hunters – three foods to incorporate into your evening routine that are known to improve how well you sleep.
Obviously taken in isolation chomping on a few walnuts isn’t going to have a miraculous impact on your sleep. However, when combined with an overall more respectful attitude to your slumber then might just prove to be cherry on top of the sleepy-cake. Note: Cherries are also great for sleep.
Healthy snacking and happy snoring!