Enhancing the quality of your sleep isn’t just about counting sheep; it can also involve paying attention to what you consume. While various factors can impact your sleep patterns, including the notorious culprit—mobile phones—your diet plays a pivotal role in influencing your sleep quality. Discover the expert insights on foods and supplements that can improve your sleep:
1. Vitamin D Supplement:
- Emerging research suggests that vitamin D plays a role in regulating sleep, with low levels linked to poorer sleep quality and duration. Nutrition therapist Ian Marber spoke to Body + Soul and recommends taking a vitamin D supplement, especially for those with limited sun exposure. Including vitamin D-rich foods like oily fish and egg yolks in your diet can also help.
2. A Glass of Milk:
- Your grandma’s wisdom holds true—a glass of milk before bedtime may indeed aid in falling asleep. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid known for its potential sedative effects. Dr. Neil Stanley, a sleep scientist, explains that protein-containing foods like milk provide the building blocks for melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
3. Magnesium-Rich Foods:
- Foods rich in magnesium, such as quinoa, spinach, brown rice, and pumpkin seeds, have been linked to promoting healthy sleep. Magnesium plays a role in nerve signaling and supports the production of sleep-inducing hormones. It also contributes to muscle relaxation and has mild sedative effects that counter symptoms of anxiety.
4. Valerian Herbal Tea:
- Valerian root tea, a traditional herbal remedy, is known for its potential sedative properties. While research results are mixed, some studies suggest that valerian may aid in sleep promotion. Ian Marber suggests steeping a valerian tea bag for 10 minutes and drinking half a cup 30 minutes before bedtime.
5. Timing of Meals:
- Avoid eating within an hour of bedtime, as late-night meals can disrupt your sleep pattern. A British Journal of Nutrition study revealed that those who ate close to bedtime had shorter sleep duration. Keep late-night snacks small to avoid taxing your digestive system.
6. Carbohydrate-Rich Meal:
- Incorporating carbohydrates into your evening meal, like wholemeal pasta or rice, a few hours before bedtime, can help some individuals sleep well. Carbohydrates can enhance the absorption of tryptophan, the amino acid with sedative properties, in the brain. However, be mindful of refined carbs, which can lead to energy spikes.
By considering these dietary choices and supplements, you can take proactive steps to improve your sleep quality, aiming for longer, more restful nights and a calmer bedtime routine.