Can you think of the last time when you had a terrible sleep? If a poor sleeping pattern continues, you may end up waking exhausted, lazy, or confused-minded. Sleep deprivation causes these symptoms, and most of you might have experienced this. Many factors can be responsible for sleep deprivation like stress, improper diet, etc. Proper nutrition certainly helps you sleep soundly, and hence, we need to eat healthy foods that help you sleep better before bed.
According to the research, sleep deprivation causes grogginess to your body, affecting the metabolism and proper brain functioning. It causes the front lobe’s impaired activity, which controls complex decision-making, especially related to food. With the appropriate addition of foods, you provide healthy nutrients to your body necessary for a good sleep. Given below are six healthy foods that help you sleep better.
Nutrients In Foods That Help You Sleep Better
A healthy diet enhances sleep quality and duration but having a high-quality sleep can help you eat better. A combination of foods rich in tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, and carbohydrates are perfect for sleep promotion.
- Tryptophan (an amino acid) is a natural dietary sleep inducer, converted by the body to 5-hydroxytryptophan.
- Vitamin B6 (known as a co-factor) converts tryptophan into serotonin (also an amino acid). Serotonin is associated with impulse control, mood, appetite, and sleep.
- Carbohydrates assist with transporting the amino acids into the bloodstream and the important parts of the brain. Although a carbohydrate meal itself lacks tryptophan, such a meal causes insulin to be secreted. In turn, insulin decreases plasma levels of large neutral amino acids that would ordinarily compete with tryptophan for transport into the brain, leading to poor sleep.
- Calcium will assist with the development of melatonin, a hormone that regulates wakefulness. It also controls the sleep-wake cycle.
However, it is useful to avoid excess proteins and fats (like too much red meat). They obstruct the beneficial nutrients we are trying to consume and inhibit the pathway of melatonin production.
Foods That Help You Sleep Better
1. Dairy Products
For good quality sleep, one can have cheese, yogurt, milk, etc. Milk is a natural dietary sleep inducer and contains essential amino acids. It is rich in tryptophan and increases the levels of serotonin. Drinking milk before bed is healthy for the body too. Yogurt has calcium, which helps to release hormones: melatonin and tryptophan. These hormones are responsible for giving a soothing and relaxing effect. You can also go for Greek yogurt as per your choice.
Honey is known for its soothing effects. Its health benefits include proper digestion, healing properties, etc. Honey contains glucose, which lowers the orexin levels; orexin is a neurotransmitter that makes your brain alert. A simple sugar transports glucose and tryptophan into the brain, which induces good sleep.
Bananas belong to the list of foods that help you sleep better. Bananas are filled with potassium and magnesium. Both these nutrients relax overstressed muscles. Bananas are also rich in vitamin B6, which helps convert tryptophan into serotonin. These hormones stimulate a healthy sleep cycle and give you a sound sleep.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains have a good effect on your sleep quality. Magnesium in whole grains is a sleep-promoter, which helps to relax your muscles. The butyric acid present in them is responsible for producing a complex carbohydrate, GABA, which increases serotonin levels and decreases cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body.
5. Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a preferable choice for munching before you sleep. Nuts include almonds, walnuts, and seeds include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. Nuts are responsible for boosting the serotonin levels in the body, which promote sleep. Almonds and walnuts both contain melatonin, which regulates a proper sleep cycle. Plus, they do not cause any weight gain.
6. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a herb, which has many traditional uses. It is commonly used to promote sleep. Apigenin, a flavonoid compound present in chamomile tea, has sleep-inducing properties. Apigenin activates GABA A receptors in the body that stimulate sleep.
Nutrients And Food Source
|Nutrients In Foods||Food Source|
|Tryptophan||Milk, yogurt, cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, mangoes, bananas, dried dates, oats, chocolate, peanuts|
|5-hydroxytryptophan||Banana, strawberries, sweet cherries, orange, dried dates, figs, papaya, pineapple, hazelnut, grapefruit|
|Vitamin B6||Whole grains, vegetables, banana, nuts, meat|
|Calcium||Dairy products, seaweeds, kelp, almonds, sesame, blackstrap molasses, okra, broccoli, kale, greens, amaranth, quinoa, figs. Fortified foods such as cereals, orange juice, soya milk.|
Before You Sleep
Avoid consuming plenty of fluids, especially caffeine, sweet beverages, or confectionery in the late afternoon/evening, closer to bedtime, as they can disturb the sleeping process and quality.
A good thumb rule is to have the quality of sleep up to seven to eight hours per night. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference than any other health decision you would make. Hence, eating and exercising are important for a good and healthy lifestyle, and good quality sleep is equally important.
Tips For Good Sleep Hygiene
- Set up ”regularity.’ Schedule to get up in the mornings; even on weekends
- Do not nap during the day.
- Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine at night.
- Do not watch television while eating or read when you are about to sleep in the bed.
- Follow the same bedtime rituals every night.
- Avoid vigorous exercise three hours before bedtime.
- Do not get out of bed when you can’t fall asleep.
- Avoid not going to bed until you are tired.