We’ve all heard the saying you are what you eat, but how does that apply to sleep? In this blog, we look at the best foods (and drinks) to have that will help you sleep well.
It’s no secret that sleep is vitally important for our overall health and wellbeing. Experts recommend we get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. There are many things you can do to improve your sleep, but did you know that making changes to what you eat and drink can also help?
Foods to help you sleep
Almonds contain high levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle.
These nuts contain several compounds that promote and regulate sleep including melatonin, serotonin and magnesium.
These green fruits also contain sleep-producing compounds such as serotonin, melatonin, flavonoids, carotenoids, potassium, magnesium, folate and calcium.
Some people claim that lettuce and lettuce seed oil may aid sleep due to a compound called lactucin.
Bananas are high in magnesium which can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Cherries contain four different compounds that help regulate sleep. These are melatonin, tryptophan, potassium and serotonin. Drinking tart cherry juice in particular has been shown to promote sleepiness and help relieve insomnia.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are not only good for the body but for sleep. They contain a range of nutrients including serotonin, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, vitamin B12, folate and calcium, all of which help regulate sleep.
White rice is something many of us eat throughout the week. While it may be lower in nutrients, antioxidants and fibre than brown rice, researchers believe that its high GI (glycaemic index) and its high carbohydrate factor may help improve sleep quality.
Similar to rice, oatmeal is high in carbohydrates so may induce drowsiness. It is also a source of melatonin.
Drinks to help you sleep
Milk contains four compounds that promote sleep. These are tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D and melatonin.
Another herbal tea that may help with sleep is passionflower tea. This is because it has calming properties which can help reduce anxiety and promote sleepiness.
Foods you should avoid
Just as there are foods that promote sleep, there are also foods that can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. These include:
- Caffeine — Caffeine is a stimulant.
- Chocolate — Chocolate contains caffeine and another stimulant called theobromine.
- Fried or fast food — Fat stimulates the production of acid in your stomach which increases the likelihood of heartburn. These foods also take longer to digest which can interfere with sleep.
- Spicy foods — These can irritate the stomach making it hard for you to relax.
- Alcohol — While it may help you get to sleep, alcohol also interrupts normal sleep patterns.
- Tobacco and other drugs — These are stimulants that make it hard for you to sleep.
- (Too much) water — While staying hydrated is really important, avoid drinking too much water in the hours leading up to bedtime as this may increase the chances of you getting up to use the toilet during the night.
Don’t forget a comfy bed
The best sleep-promoting diet in the world won’t help you sleep well if you’re not sleeping on the right mattress. Thankfully, we can help you with that. We have a wide range of high-quality, Australian-made mattresses to suit everyone in the family. Be sure to come in-store and chat with our friendly staff about your needs.