Choosing the right diet can help you sleep at night. If you are waking up tired or struggle to switch off at night, it could be that switching up your diet is enough to better that quality of sleep and feel ready for sleep each night. Here we look at the right foods to maximize sleep.
Melatonin is the key hormone that affects our sleep. Usually, our body makes more of this at night, leading us to feel sleepy. If you are struggling with feeling awake at bedtime, it may be that you need an extra boost of melatonin to help you sleep. Luckily, there are some foods that contain melatonin such as nuts and seeds (flaxseed, peanuts, and walnuts), grains (rolled oats and rice), and plenty of fruits and vegetables (corn, olives, broccoli, tomatoes, and cucumber). Gaining melatonin naturally could maximize sleep but if you are still struggling after changing your diet, speak to your doctor.
This mineral not only strengthens teeth and bones, consuming calcium can stimulate the brain to produce more melatonin. If you aren’t getting enough calcium, you may find yourself waking during the night and having difficulty with falling asleep. If you suffer from insomnia, a calcium-rich diet is usually one of the treatment methods. Some common sources of calcium that can improve sleep include soybeans, sardines, yogurt, cheese, low-fat milk and dark leafy greens. Having a warm glass of milk before bed is a great way to increase calcium levels and relax before sleeping.
Magnesium is a great mineral for maximizing sleep. This natural relaxant aids with deactivating adrenaline in the body. For those who suffer from anxiety, especially while trying to sleep, increasing magnesium naturally could help with this. If you want to increase your levels of magnesium, try eating more nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, avocados, bananas, and fish.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that can help your brain produce melatonin. Once tryptophan has been consumed, it is broken down and made into serotonin, which is then converted into melatonin. Many of the above foods also contain tryptophan, for example, dairy products. If you can choose a food from this list that contains one or more of these ingredients, you are likely to get more melatonin from each meal. Other foods that contain this amino acid include legumes, seafood, and poultry. If you are a vegetarian, most nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables also contain tryptophan.
Consuming foods that contain tryptophan alongside foods rich in vitamin B6 ensures that more melatonin is produced through the breakdown of tryptophan. Those who have low vitamin B6 levels are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, depression, and mood disorders, all of which can cause insomnia. Vitamin B6 can be found in meat, fish, bananas, spinach, and avocado. Improving what you eat brings you one step closer to maximizing sleep but having an uncomfortable bed will prevent these foods from helping. When changing your diet, ensure you have a good-quality, comfortable mattress and a solid foundation that provides a good base.
What to Avoid
While focusing on the best foods to consume for maximizing sleep, you also need to avoid foods that can prevent sleep or lead to inferior sleep. Anything that contains caffeine can inhibit sleep, so try to cut this out completely if possible, especially if your sleep is already poor. Consuming foods full of protein too close to bedtime can also affect sleep. Protein requires plenty of digestion to break down, meaning your body may be more concentrated on this rather than sleep. Also watch your water intake before bed, especially if you tend to wake up for the toilet.
Consuming these foods can help to maximize sleep and wake up feeling more energized and ready for the day.