We all know how important a good night’s sleep is – rebuilding energy, sapping stress and generally restoring our faculties for a new day ahead. Missing sleep regularly is associated with a whole host of nasty conditions; including heart disease, obesity and diabetes according to medical authorities.
There are an unending number of suggested ways of improving your sleep regime; from the obvious solutions like finding the right bed and mattress for your posture, reducing clutter and ambient light to self hypnosis and brain conditioning. However there is a vital area which is often overlooked – diet. Controlling what you eat, especially late at night, will have a huge impact on your body’s readiness for sleep. Here’s a few of our top diet suggestions which may help you have a more restful night!
Admittedly a fairly obvious suggestion, but so many inflict themselves with disturbed nights by drinking a coffee too soon before bedtime. Caffeine’s half life is 4-6 hours, meaning that as much as 25% of the caffeine from your evening coffee will still be in your system when you wake up. As a stimulant caffeine keeps your brain active – normally a desirable effect until sleep beckons. Caffeine in your bloodstream will particularly inhibit the deeper, restorative stages of sleep and leave you needing more stimulation in the morning – a vicious cycle.
Melatonin and tryptophan
A wide variety of foods have been scientifically demonstrated to promote healthy sleep. What many of them have in common is that they contain reserves of a hormone called melatonin, which is naturally produced in many animal species with the onset of darkness. Melatonin is therefore a key component of your body’s circadian rhythms – which regulate your body’s sleep cycle.
Melatonin is made in the body from an essential amino acid called tryptophan and foods rich in this acid can also boost sleep through several natural mechanisms.
Cherries are one of the richest natural melatonin sources; and drinking a daily glass of cherry juice helped insomniacs average an extra 84 minutes sleep per night. Other fruits like pineapples, oranges and walnuts also contain melatonin as well as dark vegetables including spinach, swiss chard and kale.
This blog is dedicated to helping you eat healthy, home grown produce which can have a big impact on your health and wellbeing. Organically grown food is devoid of artificial pesticides which can cause neurological defects, cancer and other pervasive health issues. What’s more you can ensure the produce you bring to the table is bursting with vitamins and straight from the vegetable patch.
Growing your own food will get you outdoors and active, provide you with a healthy diet and replaces processed foodstuffs with nutritious and safe alternatives – all of which will help you get a good night’s shut eye.
Many cold water fatty fish contain reserves of a fatty acid called Omega 3, which has long been associated with improved brain function. Solid research has linked levels of Omega 3 to mental performance and several old age charities recommend it to stave off symptoms of dementia.
New research conducted in England by Oxford University has also suggested that Omega 3 supplements can improve sleep. In a large, randomised study of school aged children those taking Omega 3 showed increased academic performance; and slept an average of 58 more minutes sleep each night with fewer disturbances.