But what if there was a simple cure for this problem? As simple as adding a few extras to your diet? We outline below the best foods for improving your nightly rest, plus a few you might want to think about cutting back on.
Ah. The humble banana.
Packed to the stem with nutrients, bananas are particularly good sources of potassium and magnesium, which function as muscle relaxants.
It can take up to four hours for Tryptophan to take effect though, so it’s best to eat bananas at least that far ahead of bed time
According to the Journal of Experimental Botany, cherries are one of the only natural sources of Melatonin. Unfortunately, when they’re not in season they can get a little pricey. Try substituting dried cherries or juice.
3. Porridge / Oatmeal
Oats. A single bowl of porridge is just crammed full of sleep-aiding nutrients: calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and silicon.
In particular, Green Tea, which contains sleep-promoting amino acid Theanine. But all teas really will have soothing, restful properties. Just be aware of the low levels of caffeine in black teas and some others.
Like Bananas, Milk is also a great source of Tryptophan. Warming the milk slightly will increase the sleepy effect too. The calcium in milk also helps boost production of Melatonin within the body.
6. High Protein Foods
High protein foods do more than promote sleep; they also help reduce heartburn and acid reflux, which can be major obstacles to getting a good night’s rest.
7. And Almonds
Almonds are brimming with both protein, magnesium and Tryptophan, working to encourage both sleepiness and muscle relaxation. Plus, they’re great for your health generally speaking too! What more reason do you need? Chow down on a handful every evening, if you can.
Worst Foods for a Good Night’s Sleep
As well as increasing your intake of the above foods, here’s some to consider reducing, at least before bed:
1. High-Fat Food
While at first greasy, heavy foods may make you feel drowsy, fatty evening meals are strongly linked with fewer hours of good sleep overall. Plus, high fat foods can really aggravate acid reflux.
2. Coffee (and other stimulants)
No surprises here! Everyone metabolises caffeine differently, so try to work out how long it takes that latte to wear off, and schedule a personal caffeine cut-off point in the afternoon accordingly!
This one may seem counterintuitive first, as alcohol is a depressant and does indeed induce drowsiness.
However, it’s again been shown that alcohol interferes with quality of sleep; in particular, drastically reducing those all-important phases of REM sleep, vital for proper rest and revitalisation. It can also lead to a reduction in overall sleep time.
No wonder you wake up feeling terrible after a late-night bender!
What do you think? Could a small dietary adjustment really have such a dramatic impact on your sleep?