If you’re prone to bouts of insomnia, battle to stay asleep, your first thought is probably to chat to your doctor about medication. Sometimes though, your daily diet can play a huge role in your sleeping patterns. Just as some food types, like caffeine, can keep you awake, some foods can help you fall and stay asleep.
We’ve got a list of 9 foods you should try to help you sleep better:
Bananas are incredibly high in potassium and magnesium. Magnesium in particular acts as a natural sleep aid and as bizarre as it may be, eating the peel can even help too – banana peels have three times the magnesium as the fruit itself.
Although most people enjoy oats for breakfast, it’s actually better enjoyed at night if you suffer from insomnia. Whole-grains, like oats, are naturally high in the amino acid tryptophan. Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin and melatonin – both are hormones which bring on sleep. Because oats are so rich in tryptophan, it can also be eaten to help establish and maintain healthy sleep patterns.
3) Leafy greens
Leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard and kale can help bring on better sleep cycles because they’re high in magnesium, and calcium which boosts melatonin production. If you’re not a big fan of greens on their own, enjoy a smoothie of oats and greens before bed.
If you’ve ever felt sleepy after a carb-heavy meal (maagies vol, oogies toe, right?), it’s not just because you’ve enjoyed a hearty meal. Carbs make tryptophan more readily available to the brain, allowing serotonin and melatonin production easier.
Fish is well-known to be full of protein which is an essential building block of tryptophan. Some fish are also high in magnesium which would mean a double-whammy of sleep-inducing minerals. Just be sure to eat sustainably-sourced fish from your local grocery store.
Walnuts are interesting little things. Not only are they naturally rich in tryptophan, but they also have their own source of melatonin, increasing concentrations of the hormone in your blood and helping you fall asleep quicker.
7) Chamomile tea
You may have heard about chamomile tea and brushed it off because tea in general is a calming drink, but chamomile specifically increases glycine production. Glycine is a chemical which relaxes your nerves and muscles, help you to fall asleep easier.
Often, waking up during the night can be because your blood sugar is spiking and then suddenly dropping. Cinnamon before bed can regulate your blood sugar levels meaning fewer spikes and drops during the night.
This may seem like an odd choice, but lettuce contains lactucarium which acts like a sedative and affects the brain in a similar way to opium. Drinking a cup of lettuce leaves steeped in water with a sprig of mint before bed can help make your eyelids heavier.