Research by Sealy UK and Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit (CSRU) revealed that 77% of Britons are not getting a sufficient amount of sleep at night.
Rather than snoozing for the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night, us poor Brits are a nation of insomniacs. Why? It could be due to the foods you eat before bed.
Research shows that snacking on foods containing high levels of the sleep inducing chemicals serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin before bed will not only help you get to sleep, but improve the sleep you are having too.
Here, Neil Robinson, Sealy UK’s resident sleep expert, shares his top tips on what to eat to promote a restful night’s sleep.
Bananas can be helpful when battling insomnia due to their naturally high amount of amino acid tryptophan. In addition to the sedative effects of tryptophan, bananas contain high levels of magnesium and potassium, which work to relax the muscles.
If you find yourself reaching for a light pre-bed snack, grab a handful of almonds. Like bananas, almonds contain both tryptophan and muscle-relaxant magnesium. What’s more, their high protein content will keep you feeling full all night.
Oats contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals that collectively work to support relaxation. As a natural source of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleeping and waking cycles, oats are guaranteed to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep.
Like oats, cherries are extremely high in melatonin. In addition to promoting weight loss, cherries also contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, which work alongside melatonin to help you maintain a deeper sleep for longer.
Peanut butter is high in niacin, a form of vitamin B3 which aids the production of serotonin, the hormone responsible for our moods. Rich in good fats, it’ll help you stay full and stop you from waking up hungry in the night.
Milk is also extremely rich in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. The warmth will provide a calming effect that often results in you getting to sleep faster. Plus, the high calcium content of milk regulates the production of melatonin.
Chamomile tea increases the levels of amino acid glycine in the body, making our muscles relax. The anti-anxiety effects of glycine also mean that chamomile tea is excellent for calming any stressful thoughts, helping your mind to switch off.
With its high magnesium content, avocado could be exactly what you need to drift off to sleep. Research shows that magnesium decreases levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’. And we all know that when we’re stressed, we don’t sleep, so this helps to readdress the balance.