What to eat for a restful night's sleep

Delicious foods to help you drift off

Logo Avatar
Simba
Tuesday 13 December 2022
unsplash-woman-sleeping

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being, but it can be a challenge for many people. While there are many factors that can affect sleep, including stress and medical conditions, our diet can also play a role. Here are some foods that may help you to get a better night's sleep.

Cherries

Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. Melatonin is produced by the body in response to darkness, and its levels peak at night, helping to promote sleep. Cherries, particularly tart cherries, are one of the few natural food sources of melatonin.

Some studies have suggested that consuming cherries or cherry juice may help to improve sleep quality and duration, although more research is needed to confirm these findings. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidants, which may have additional benefits for sleep.


Salmon

Fried salmon fillet on plate

Salmon and other fatty fish are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to improve sleep quality.

Omega-3s are essential fats that are important for brain health and have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of cognitive decline. There is research to show that Omega-3s may help to improve sleep quality by reducing inflammation and regulating the production of hormones that regulate sleep.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and pumpkin seeds, are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to produce serotonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Tryptophan is found in a variety of protein-rich foods, and some studies have suggested that increasing tryptophan intake may help to improve sleep quality.

In addition to their tryptophan content, nuts and seeds are also contain other nutrients that are linked to helping you sleep better, such as magnesium and zinc.

However, it is important to consider portion sizes, as nuts and seeds are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.


Whole grains

Bowl of oats and yoghurt with fruit

Whole grains, such as oats and brown rice, are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help to promote sleep by increasing the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and is produced in the brain from tryptophan, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods.

When we eat complex carbohydrates, our bodies release insulin, which helps to increase the availability of tryptophan in the brain. This, in turn, can increase the production of serotonin, which may help to promote sleep.

Turkey

Turkey is also a rich source of tryptophan, with 170g of protein enough to give you 174% of your recommended dietary intake for this amino acid.


Aside from tryptophan, turkey is also a good source of protein, which can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. This can be especially helpful for those who struggle with sleep due to hunger or cravings.

Chamomile tea

Cup of chamomile herbal tea

Chamomile tea is a herbal tea that has a calming effect and may help to promote sleep. Chamomile tea is made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant, which has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Research suggests that chamomile may help to improve sleep quality and duration, especially when drunk 45 minutes before bed. In addition to its potential sleep-promoting effects, chamomile tea also contains antioxidants, which may have additional benefits for overall health.

It is advised you speak with a healthcare professional before adding chamomile tea or any other supplement to your diet as there can be potential interactions with your existing medications.

Kale

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is a good source of calcium, which may help to promote sleep by regulating the production of melatonin.

As already mentioned, melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and is produced by the body in response to darkness. Calcium can help to regulate the production of melatonin in the body, which may help to improve sleep quality and duration.

Kale is also a good source of other nutrients that may have additional benefits for sleep, such as vitamin K and antioxidants.

Milk

Glass of milk

Milk is a popular and versatile food that has long been associated with a good night's sleep. Like some of the other foods above, it is a good source of both trytophan and calcium.

Furthermore, it also contains Vitamin D and magnesium which are beneficial for sleep. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including improved bone health and immune function.

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including muscle relaxation and the regulation of sleep. Some studies have suggested that increasing magnesium intake may help to improve sleep quality.