A good sleep is very beneficial to our well being. It makes us feel happy, have a sharp mind, gives us a youthful skin and makes our brain function, well.
On the other end, lack of enough sleep could cause havoc in one’s life, bringing problems such as: fatigue, clumsiness, weight gain or weight loss and daytime sleepiness.
Lack of enough sleep could be caused by: stress, anxiety or changing one’s work schedule.
The good news is that there are certain foods that help you have a healthier and more relaxed sleep. These are mainly the foods that help produce serotonin which is a brain chemical that helps your body relax so that you can sleep well.
Below are the six types of foods that one should consider as part of their diet in order to get that slumber you so much crave for:
1. Vegetables and Dried Fruits
Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and chickpeas are rich in vitamin B-6. Fruits such as: bananas, prunes, raisins and apricots are known to be rich in potassium and are therefore good sources of vitamin B-6 which helps in melatonin production.
Liver is a source of vitamin B-12 which helps in the production of melatonin— a hormone found in your body which decides when to sleep and the time to wake up.
3. Low Fat Proteins and Whole grains
Low fat proteins like turkey and chicken has a chemical called tryptophan, which helps in boosting serotonin levels, enabling one to relax and feel sleepy.
Fish such as tuna and salmon and other foods such as raw garlic and pistachio nut are abundant in vitamin B-6 needed by the body to make melatonin which is a sleep inducing hormone.
Tryptophan is also present in dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and milk, which help the brain to manufacture sleep triggering melatonin. Therefore a glass of warm milk is recommended as an evening beverage.
Game meat called Elk has twice the amount of tryptophan than the poultry, especially if you are taking it with carbohydrates. It will enable the tryptophan reach the brain easily, hence the manufacture of melatonin.
Whole grains like barley and bulgur are rich in magnesium and are essential if you want to get a good sleep
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as: spinach, kales, collards, romaine lettuces and mustard greens have high levels of calcium which helps in treating sleep issues. The calcium in these foods helps the brain to easily use tryptophan in manufacturing melatonin.
5. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has a chemical called glycerin, which relaxes the muscles and also acts as a sedative enabling one to relax and have a good sleep.
Honey has natural sugar, which raises the insulin levels, allowing tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. You can therefore decide to take a spoonful before bed or mix it with your chamomile tea.
There are other tips one can use to supplement the good diet in order to get that sound sleep. These include:
- Maintaining the same sleeping schedule-This means you go to bed and wake up the same time on a daily basis including the weekends.
- Making your bedroom more sleep friendly-This includes eliminating noise from loud neighbors and traffic by either using ear plugs or masking. Also make sure your bed is comfortable. Invest in a new mattress if you usually wake up with backache.
- Regular exercise will also help you get a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym, 20 to 30minutes of any physical activity should be enough.
- Consider taking a warm bath, three hours before sleeping. This will help you reach a right temperature, which is ideal for rest.
- If your reason for not being able to sleep well is as a result of stress or anxiety, then you should try practicing relaxation techniques that will help you relax and be able to sleep. These include: deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
- You should also try and postpone your worrying and visualize a good sleep. You can do this by putting down short notes of everything that is worrying you so that you can deal with it the following day when you are fresh and energetic. This will help in clearing distractions and organizing your thoughts so that you can focus on having a good night’s sleep.
In conclusion, we can all agree that sleep is an essential aspect of our lives and therefore we should all strive to get quality sleep. In case you try the tips above and still don’t get enough sleep, then it is advisable to seek professional help.