When we think about food and sleep, we often zoom right over to focusing on foods that will wake us up. What if instead, we consider foods that can help us to relax and unwind more before bed at night? Foods that can help us to sleep better. Bear with me on today’s blog, it gets a bit science-y! I’ll try to keep it as reader friendly as possible.
Is sleep related to weight loss?
The Obesity Journal demonstrated through one of their studies that if you sleep better you are 33% more likely to achieve your best hopes in relation to losing weight. Let’s look at how we can use food to help us increase our sleep and achieve our goals.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is an essential hormone in our ‘wind down for sleep’ routine. We don’t want too much of it. However, having a good balance of melatonin does wonders for moving us towards a healthy sleep cycle. If you want more ideas for a healthy sleep cycle, check out my blog on sleep.
Nuts are a wonderful source of melatonin in particular almonds and walnuts are fantastic. Don’t go overboard though. Have a little nibble on a handful in the evening and this can help to increase your melatonin production and results in you having a lovely sleep.
Studies have shown that people who suffer with insomnia, often have low levels of serotonin aka “the happy hormone”. That’s not to say that people who have insomnia are never happy, but they may have less serotonin floating around their bodies.
What is Tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s found in lots of foods. One of its uses is to create something called Niacin which helps to boost our levels of serotonin. So, eating foods that increase our levels of serotonin, can also help to improve our sleep. Having good levels of Vitamins B6, B12 and iron also play a key role.
Lot’s of foods containing protein also contain tryptophan, which increases our happy hormone, serotonin. Eggs, chicken, fish, peanuts, some cheeses (cottage cheese is a good one), sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, tofu, soy, and even some chocolate!
Should I have a hot drink at bedtime?
Yes, if it’s the right one. It goes without saying though, that drinks like tea, coffee, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, so avoiding them at bedtime is key! However, it doesn’t mean to say that you must avoid all drinks. Hot milk or chamomile tea for example, are great to have in the evening to help your body relax. Research demonstrates that you don’t just get the physical responses to these, you get psychological responses too, that help you to relax more so.
What else can I eat that may improve my sleep?
Kiwi’s are up there as one of the best foods you can eat to aid sleep. Studies showed that when you eat two kiwi’s before bed you sleep on average a whole hour longer!
If you’re struggling with sleep, pop over to my Calm Your Mind Facebook group for some free deep relaxation hypnotherapy every Sunday. Ready to begin your week feeling fabulous!