What foods do you eat before bed? They might be detrimental to your sleep, and even keeping you awake! We’ve brought in Nutrition Coach, Lisa Saunders, from Own Your Health Collective to tell her top five foods to help reach optimal snooze.
Good things happen when we sleep. Our immune system is strengthened, our metabolism is supported and our damaged cells are repaired. So clever! Sleep boosts our daily performance and then when we are fast asleep enjoying our slumber, the brain processes what it heard, learnt and saw in the day. Actually according to Shawn Stevenson, the Author of Sleep Smarter, there’s no facet of your mental, emotional, or physical performance that’s not affected by the quality of your sleep.
Considering the body and brain are so busy whilst we snooze through the night, it does leave you wondering what foods will help you get that restful sleep in the first place. Here are my five picks that are easy to source and won’t break the budget.
A delicious naturally sweet fruit full of fibre and nourishing antioxidants and vitamins like Vitamin C, E potassium and folate, Kiwi contains serotonin – a sleep hormone that is related to our REM sleep – and low levels of serotonin can contribute to insomnia. A perfect fruit to eat as a dessert after dinner, buy them firm and eat them just as they start to soften. If you don’t mind the skin, eat that too, it’s jam packed with fibre.
These are a sleeper’s dream! An easy to digest carbohydrate, sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, magnesium and calcium that promote relaxation. Enjoy them roasted with a sprinkle of sea salt and cinnamon (so delicious!) or steam and mash with a healthy glug of olive oil.
A healthy snack and high in healthy fats, these are full of magnesium which help your muscles relax. Almonds also contain calcium, which helps the brain convert tryptophan into sleep-inducing melatonin. Enjoy eight to ten almonds as a snack.
Another delicious fruit, they are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium that help put your body into a sleepy state by promoting muscle relaxation. Bananas also contain tryptophan, which is the precursor to the sleep hormone serotonin also. Cut up slices of banana and spread with almond butter or freeze peeled bananas and whip into a delicious soft serve banana ice cream!
Cherries are a natural food source of melatonin. Since they’re not readily available all year round, you might want to pop some frozen cherries in your freezer! A 2018 review on the health benefits of cherries found a positive correlation between improved sleep and cherry consumption.
So on your next shopping trip, be sure to pop these foods into your trolley to support your sleep!
About the Author
Lisa Saunders is a nutritional health educator who designs and delivers unique programs and workshops on a range of holistic health, lifestyle and nutrition topics. She helps her clients understand and overcome the inevitable challenges in contemporary workplaces around maintaining optimal health.
Lisa is a Nutritional Food Coach and is certified in gut health management and as a Type 2 Diabetes Nutritional Advisor.