Sleep – it’s so important for everyone and yet many adults just don’t get enough of the stuff! In fact, approximately 38% of adults don’t sleep for long enough according to various studies. Source
If you wondered what you should be getting nightly, between 7 and 9 hours (over the age of 65, it drops to around 7 to 8 hours a night according to this study. Source
However, with today’s hectic lifestyles which are normally busy and stressful, the reality is that most adults get between 5 and 6 hours a night. Add in factors like too much caffeine, alcohol and overuse of electronic devices and it’s almost impossible to get a full, unbroken night sleep. Unfortunately, this lack of sleep soon takes its toll and many people feel tired, lethargic and moody.
Stimulants greatly interfere with the natural sleep/wake cycle and that’s another reason why you don’t wake up feeling rested. To sleep well, it’s best to stick with a routine bedtime, around 10 to 11pm and wake up naturally, around 7 or 8 hours later. To improve your sleep quality, make sure you wind down before bedtime, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, have a warm, relaxing bath and read a good book! Scented candles help to alleviate stress (lavender is particularly good for inducing sleep). Think about what you eat too, because certain foods can actually help you sleep well. Some foods contain naturally occurring ingredients to encourage that sleepy feeling that you might lack. Here are a few suggestions to add to your shopping basket and get a better night sleep!
A Handful of Almonds
Magnesium is important for sleep and when your body stores are low, your sleep could be hindered. That’s why a handful of almonds in the evening could help to build up your magnesium, improving your sleep quality. You can also try pistachios; they help the brain to trigger melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Another very good source of magnesium is bananas. So, factor in a sliced banana before bedtime. Not only will it taste delicious, it could help you to sleep better.
A Handful of Walnuts
Like almonds, walnuts can help you to sleep better and that’s because walnuts contain tryptophan which is an amino-acid known for enhancing better sleep. This amino-acid helps make serotonin and melatonin. These are the hormones that operate your natural sleep and wake cycle. Just a handful in the evening could help lull you into a pleasant slumber.
You possibly grew up being told that cheese is not good before bedtime but actually, the dairy content helps you feel sleepy. Calcium is used by the brain to create melatonin (this hormone triggers sleep) and it regulates muscular movement too, so try some cheese and crackers or have a warm, milky drink before bedtime (but not coffee or tea!).
You probably won’t want a salad just before going to bed but add one to your dinner and you could improve your sleep. That’s because lettuce contains lactuacarium which helps you feel sleepy as it has sedative properties.
Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are all good for inducing sleep. They contain high concentration of vitamin B6; this is needed by your body to create serotonin and melatonin to help you fall asleep naturally. You could grill some salmon and enjoy it with a salad (as above) or sear a tuna steak to help you sleep later on.
Hopefully, those six foods will help you to enjoy a better quality night’s sleep. Goodnight!