Having a sound sleep is at the top of everyone’s wish list, but for a lot of people it doesn’t come easy.
Thankfully, our diet is one factor we can control when it comes to restorative sleep and by eating the right kind of foods, we may be able to set ourselves up for a quality kip.
If you’re tired of tossing and turning at night, nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin reveals which foods are great to include in your daily diet for a good slumber.
Apart from being a great source of protein, the humble egg also contains the natural sleep hormone, melatonin, Zoe says.
“Melatonin plays an important role in our circadian rhythm and is needed to help us fall asleep and stay asleep,” she explains.
Additionally, egg whites are packed with the amino acid, tryptophan, which the body uses to make melatonin.
Plus, the protein and fat in the egg helps to keep us satisfied and blood sugar levels stable, which all help with a restful sleep, Zoe adds.
Calcium isn’t just great for promoting bone strength, it can also benefit sleep.
“Calcium works hand in hand with tryptophan to manufacture melatonin,” Zoe says. “Research has shown calcium levels in the body are highest during our deepest sleep stages and calcium deficiency has been linked to disturbed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.”
For those of us who don’t, or can’t, eat dairy, Zoe recommends some alternatives that are rich in calcium such as soy milk, tahini, almonds, tofu set with calcium, leafy greens and dried figs.
Add some red capsicum to your lunch or dinner for a hit of Vitamin C. “A low Vitamin C intake has been linked with non-restorative sleep,” Zoe says.
You can add it to a stir-fry, salad, roast it or simply eat it raw.
Apart from being tasty, Brazil nuts are also lauded for being a concentrated source of selenium.
"Adequate intake of selenium has been associated with decreased difficulty falling asleep," Zoe tells.
The good news is that you just need 2-3 Brazil nuts a day to help top up selenium stores, she says.
Replace other grain options with this seed at dinner time for a magnesium kick.
“Compared to other grains, buckwheat has a high magnesium content and also contains protein,” Zoe explains. “Magnesium is needed as a co-factor to synthesise neurotransmitters responsible for calming down the body.”
Sounds like the perfect way to get your body prepared for a restorative sleep.