Not getting enough sleep can cause mental health issues, relationship problems and stress, so it is imperative we get good quality sleep. With just over a third of adults in the UK only getting 6 hours sleep, we need to start utilising natural ways and good routines that help induce sleep.
Food is one way we can help our bodies out, as certain foods help relax the body, thus helping you drift off.
Cherries or cherry juice is a fantastic source of melatonin, this fruit has a natural antioxidant which helps your body clock stay on track. Melatonin is produced naturally by the body but only in very small doses. Therefore it's important to try and boost your melatonin levels by optimising certain foods. Be sure to eat tart cherries as these contain more melatonin than sweet cherries.
You may have this for breakfast, but oatmeal acts as a great evening snack. The grains in oatmeal can trigger a slow increase in insulin production. As this process is done very slowly and naturally, it can make you feel sleepy within the hour. If you have your oatmeal with milk then this is another bonus.
Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan which will help induce sleep and like tart cherries, milk contains melatonin. If you're not a fan of cows milk, then there are plenty of other options that will still have the same effect, coconut and nut milk are great alternatives. Heating your milk with your oats will also make your body feel relaxed. You can always skip the oats and drink a small glass of milk in the evening. It’s best not to drink milk just before you go to bed, as you may find yourself having to get up to go to the toilet, just as you're drifting off.
Dehydration can have a big impact on a whole host of things, one of them being sleep. Keeping yourself hydrated helps you fall asleep and wake up much easier, as you won’t feel as groggy. Try eating melons, oranges and pears before you get ready for bed.
These nuts contain magnesium, which is known for relaxing the muscles in the body. They can also stabilise blood sugar levels by switching you to your rest and digest cycle. Have a small handful of almonds about half an hour before bed, to get yourself relaxed. If a handful of nuts doesn’t quite quench the hunger pains, then opt for almond butter on wholemeal toast.
What Not to Eat
Steer clear of orange juice in the evening, as this acidic drink can easily cause heartburn if eaten with the wrong foods.
The most common myth about cheese is that you tend to have nightmares if you eat it near bedtime, we don't fully know if this is true, but we do know cheese has a high-fat content. Foods that have a high-fat content tend to have a slower digestion rate, this can sit uncomfortably in your stomach if you are lying down.
Drinking alcohol before bed is fairly common, as many people like to unwind and find that alcohol helps them drift off easier. Even though you may be able to drift off a bit quicker it doesn’t make getting up any easier. Alcohol can often make you feel sluggish and tired in the mornings which isn’t the whole point of getting a good nights sleep!
Coffee and Energy Drinks
Having a cup of coffee in the evening is an easy mistake to make, but try not to have coffee or an energy drink before bed. Coffee and energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine which can easily disturb your natural sleep pattern. If you want an alternative to coffee try Capomo, which is made from Maya nut. The Maya Nut has no caffeine and is super healthy.