Foods to avoid

Foods to eat for a good night’s sleep

A few tweaks to your diet could help you to start nodding off quicker and sleeping more soundly.

Poor quality sleep can leave you feeling fatigued, irritable and demotivated during the day, and over time can even begin to affect your overall health and wellbeing.

With over one third of the UK population suffering from insomnia, it’s important to understand what can be done to naturally encourage a sound night’s sleep.

Just a few of the lifestyle changes that can be made to improve sleep include exercising regularly, creating a comfortable sleep environment, sticking to a sleep routine, and eating foods that promote sleep.

So, which foods should you be adding to your diet, and how do they help you to sleep better?

Some foods have relaxing properties that help to calm our minds, others contain sleep-inducing hormones that perform processes in our bodies that help us to nod off and get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep-inducing foods

Here are a few of the best foods to eat with your evening meal to promote a good night’s sleep.

Nuts – Nuts like almonds and walnuts are an excellent source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. Almonds also contain magnesium, which is said to improve sleep quality and is often recommended to those that suffer from insomnia.

Warm milk – Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan as well as the hormone melatonin. Your body turns tryptophan into a B vitamin called Niacin which is then used to create serotonin, a chemical that is involved in sleep regulation. There is also psychologically something very comforting and relaxing about a warm mug of milk before bed.

Herbal tea – If you can’t face warm milk, try a soothing mug of herbal tea instead. Chamomile, valerian root and passionflower tea are all said to have particularly relaxing properties.

Fruit – Kiwi fruits and tart cherry juice both have high melatonin and serotonin content. Bananas are also a good source of tryptophan.

Starchy carbs – Some studies have shown that eating starchy carbs with your evening meal can help you to fall asleep faster.This is thought to be because eating them boosts production of tryptophan and serotonin.

And the top foods to avoid?

Foods and drinks containing caffeine and sugar should be avoided too close to bedtime as they can energise you, leaving your mind racing and your eyes wide open.

Drinking alcohol in the evening should also be avoided because although it may help you conk out quicker, it often results in a disrupted night’s sleep.

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