In a bid to catch up with life, we often put sleep in the back seat. Despite the economy slowing down, our sleeping habits may not have changed much.
Sleep or lack thereof affects how you feel throughout the day and nutrition plays a major role in how well you sleep
What you eat relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that — along with Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid — helps promote healthy sleep. Do your best to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.
Here are some foods to get you started on the path to good sleep.
Simple carbohydrates such as bread, pasta cakes and sugary foods, reduce serotonin levels in your body and thus suppressing sleep. Seek to stick to complex carbohydrates like plantains, sweet potatoes and oatmeal.
Lean proteins are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels. On the other hand, avoid high-fat cheeses, chicken wings or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and can keep you awake.
Unsaturated fats will not only improve your heart health but also boost your serotonin levels. Stay away from foods with saturated and trans fats, like fries, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods. They tend to lower your serotonin levels.
Some drinks can promote or prevent sleep. A good, soothing beverage to drink before bedtime would be warm milk (your mummy was right) or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint. As for caffeinated drinks, we strongly recommend that anyone who has difficulty sleeping consume that last cup by 2 p.m. Caffeine affects people differently, and even the smallest amount of stimulant can keep you awake.
Fresh herbs have a calming effect on the body. For example, sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep. However, avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at night, as they have a stimulatory effect.
- Have a banana with low-fat yoghurt.
- Smear peanut butter on 100% whole-grain bread
- Enjoy an apple with mozzarella string cheese.
Try all these foods to reduce your tossing and turning when you hit the pillow.