Kiwi is another fruit that has sleep-boosting potential, and eating two kiwis one hour before bed has been shown to boost melatonin levels and support restful sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used by the body as one of the main building blocks of melatonin. Diets low in tryptophan can lead to poor sleep. So, if you want to make sure that your levels are okay, make sure your are getting enough protein in your diet. At 9pm consider have a tryptophan rich snack e.g. an oatcake with cottage cheese.
Refined carbohydrates (ie. white rice, bread and pasta) are not great for sleep – as they convert into sugar which as you know is a stimulant. Regular consumption of these foods has been shown to make it harder for you to fall asleep at night as well as affecting sleep quality. Instead try eating wholegrains with your evening meal alongside tryptophan-rich protein – turkey is a great one – then you may be giving your melatonin levels a big helping hand.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Magnesium is the sleep mineral. It is involved in the conversion of tryptophan to melatonin, as well as calming the nervous system, countering fatigue and relaxing muscles. Magnesium can be found in abundance in spinach, kale, and swiss chard etc.
Obviously what we eat isn’t the only thing that is required for a good nights sleep. Even if you have ensured your melatonin levels are in impeccable condition, the effects of stress, anxiety and tension can override its delicate balance and leave you frustratingly lying wide awake. Consider taking up meditation, relaxation or exercise, which are all able to help combat the effects of stress and they should not be overlooked if you consistently struggle with sleep.
Whatever your problem is, it really is important to take your sleep health seriously. Poor sleep will affect every single aspect of your daily life, as well as having profound implications on your health. So why not make a meal of going to bed and cook up the perfect sleep-inducing meal. Sweet Dreams!
Emma is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (DipNT CNM) and is registered with BANT (British Association for Nutritional Therapy) and CMA (Complimentary Medical Association). She is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimum health through diet and lifestyle. She cane be reached at: www.emmaolliff.com