If you tend to find sleep elusive, you're not alone. Statistics show that around 22% of us struggle to get a good's night kip on a daily basis. Perhaps your partner won't stop snoring! And as we get more stressed and anxious, the worse the problem is likely to get worse.
Chances are, there's not going to be one magical cure for all your sleep failings (if only), but one thing's for sure - counting sheep just isn't going to cut it.
Various studies show that certain foods can be of service when it comes to getting better quality sleep. And seeing as we all love eating, getting more of these foods shouldn't be too much of a problem, right?
Here are some sleep-inducing foods for you to try:
Believe it or not, the old wives' tale about drinking warm milk before bed might have some truth to it. Milk is a big container or tryptophan, which is an amino acid needed in the diet and which converts first into serotonin (mood-boosting) and then melatonin, which can help regulate sleep. Not a big fan? Try adding a spoonful of raw honey or a light sprinkle of cocoa powder for added sweetness.
Magnesium deficiency is reportedly extraordinarily common among adults, which is bad news if you're trying to catch those zzz's - the mineral plays a crucial role in deactivating adrenaline, the one thing that's guaranteed to keep you awake. Spinach is one of the most magnesium-rich foods and also contains calcium, which is also thought to be beneficial to getting a good night's sleep. So, whether you shake it into a smoothie or enjoy it as a salad base, get those greens!
As well as being delicious, salmon is good for snoozing. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, those who ate salmon three times a week for five months alongside their normal diet reported sleeping longer with less disturbed sleep. They also reported better daily functioning. What's more, it's oh-so easy to cook and can work in a vast range of quick and easy recipes.
They may not be good for the environment (one almond takes about a gallon of water to cultivate... oops!) but they do contain high levels of tryptophan (that guy again) and magnesium (and that guy) - both of which, as we know, have been earmarked as good ways of helping sleep. Perfect for snacking on or even sprinkling over a scoop of ice cream!
We've all got a bag of rice languishing at the back of the kitchen cupboard; turns out, it could help you get more shut-eye. A study of the diet and exercise habits of around 2,000 men and women in Japan found that those who ate more rice also reported better and longer sleep. Some people avoid cooking rice because they can’t make it 'just right' and they end up with a bowl of mush (sound familiar?) Yet, it doesn't have to be difficult. Rice cookers, often multi-functional, may be a perfect solution for you.
Block out all of those street lights with your sleep mask and put your sleep-transforming diet into practice to finally get a well-deserved, good night's rest!
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