Having trouble sleeping? If you’ve had to toss and turn in bed wondering if Mr Snores lost his way, then this article is for you. Although most of the time when we have difficulty falling asleep, we resort to sleeping pills or staying awake altogether.
Sleep is an important part of the day and should not be neglected as it affects your overall health. It could boost your immunity, maintain healthy brain and digestive system function and keep the risk of chronic diseases far away from you. Generally, it is said that we need about 7-9 hours of sleep that is uninterrupted every night.
If you barely manage to get enough, then worry no more, there are pill-free ways to get a good sleep – this is done with what you eat. Studies show that there are foods with the ability to help you fall asleep. They calm the nerves and trigger the hormonal response that induces sleep – melatonin. With the hormone triggered, you’re enabled to rest better and fall asleep faster without struggling so much in bed.
FOODS THAT HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
1. White Rice
Rice is consumed every where in the world and is one of the most common foods. It is different from brown rice in the removal of its germ and bran which causes reduced fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. Inspite of it, white rice is reasonably rich in minerals and vitamins like carbohydrates, folates, thiamin and manganese.
Its carbohydrate and little or no fibre content causes its increased glycemic index. Studies have shown that foods with a high glycemic index are more likely to improve the quality of sleep you get. The glycemic index is simply how fast a food is able to raise your blood sugar level. Bread, white rice and noodles are examples of foods with a high glycemic index. Another study carried out to compare the sleep habits of over a thousand people suggested that better and longer sleep was associated with higher intake of foods with higher glycemic indexes.
White rice is said to be the most effective as regards improved sleep quality. It is advised that you consume white rice at least an hour before you’re ready to go to bed. Also bear in mind that it should be consumed moderately considering its deficiency in nutrients and fibre.
Honey possesses a natural sugar that increases the level of insulin in the body and lets tryptophan seep easily into the brain. Orexin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for increasing alertness is also reduced with the presence of glucose introduced by honey. Just a spoonful of honey before bed will increase the quality of your sleep. More so, adding honey to your chamomile tea, milk or herbal tea will produce even better results.
Magnesium is one of the nutrients necessary for improved sleep, asides bone building. Almonds are rich in this minerals and as such are ideal for helping the quality of your sleep. With the help of one study, it was established that it is much harder to fall and stay asleep if the body is short of magnesium. Almonds also contain tryptophan which reduces the activities of nervous system and muscle function while also keeping the rhythm of the heart steady. With a handful of almonds, in no time you’ll be sleeping peacefully.
Turkey, as we know is highly proteinous. Protein strengthens the muscles and keeps the appetite regulated. Evidence shows that protein improves the quality of sleep and reduces the frequency of waking up. Turkey is also rich in minerals and vitamins like riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium etc. Tryptophan, we have recognized, is associated with sleepiness and generally increases melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. It is contained in the Turkey. Although no experiments have been carried out on this, the fact that it contains tryptophan and protein increases the chances that it is indeed true. So, even though this has not yet been confirmed, there’s absolutely no harm in trying this out if you’re having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep for long.
Potassium, tryptophan and magnesium are some of the minerals contained in the banana. Potassium is one of the most important minerals necessary for good sleep. Magnesium is another, as we’ve seen under the discussion of almonds. We have also seen how important tryptophan is for sleep as it triggers increased production of the sleep-hormone, melatonin. Possessing all three of these make banana one of the most wonderfully effective sleeping “pills “.
Walnuts have lots of nutrients in abundance, some of which are copper, magnesium, manganese, fiber, omega-3-fatty acids, linoleic acid, protein etc. Walnuts have been said to induce sleep as it is one source of tryptophan which produces melatonin. Its rich magnesium and protein content, just like banana, makes it an ideal food to improve your sleep quality. Apart from these minerals, the fatty acid content could also cause better sleep as they’re rich in an omega-3 fatty acid known as ALA which when introduced into the body is converted to DHA. Now, the DHA causes a rise in serotonin production, serotonin being a chemical released by the brain which enhances sleep. Even though no direct studies have been made concerning walnut’s effects on sleep, you could try it, it’s said that it works. Asides its likely sleep benefits, it’s generally able to improve the health of your heart and reduce high levels of cholesterol which is a leading cause of heart disease.
Who else falls right asleep after a hearty meal of beans? You could attest to this. Beans contain proteins and Vitamin B complexes like Niacin, folate, B6, riboflavin and a host of others. We’ve seen that protein is associated with better sleep You could eat it however way you want a few hours before bed, you’ll marvel at how soundly you sleep.
The bottom line is that getting enough sleep is important to the mental and physical well being. Fortunately, different foods have been discovered that solve the sleeping problems of people. These foods contain chemicals and sleep-regulating hormones like serotonin and melatonin which induce sleep and improve the quality of sleep you get. It is advised that you avoid acid reflux and other digestive problems that arise from eating right before bed. Therefore, about 3 hours before bed is ideal enough to have these foods.