Eating certain foods can be the difference between a sleepless night and a solid eight hours. With the help of our seven sleep-inducing foods, plan your evening meal so that it prepares you for sleep rather than making you more alert, and it could transform your sleep quality entirely.
If you need a late night snack, be sure to munch on foods that will help you drop off soon after. Opt for foods containing tryptophan such as seeds, nuts, soya, chicken and turkey, as the body converts this into serotonin and melatonin. These calming hormones then help ease your brain into a happy, relaxed state, ready for the land of nod. Magnesium and potassium can also help your stressed muscles relax.
Milk and yoghurt
That old wives tale about drinking a cup of warm milk before bed turns out to be true. The calcium in milk helps your body absorb the tryptophan in dairy products, converting it into happy, relaxed hormones, so you’ll be ready to go out like a light. Yoghurt also has the same effect and it makes a good late night snack, so stock up on the white stuff.
Having certain fish for dinner, such as tuna, halibut or salmon will ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamin B6 which the body needs to make melatonin and will in turn help you sleep like a fish.
Walnuts, almonds and pistachios
Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, while walnuts contain tryptophan and pistachios are high in vitamin B6. Try nibbling on a handful of mixed nuts in the evening, or chop them and add them to a salad for a guaranteed snooze.
Tart cherry juice
Sour cherries truly are a superfood. As well as easing muscle soreness and aiding post-run recovery, tart cherry juice (or Montmorency cherry juice) can help you sleep as it’s linked with increased levels of melatonin. Glugging two glasses a day has been proven to help even severe insomniacs get more sleep, so sip on the fruity stuff before bedtime.
The humble lettuce leaf contains a substance called lactucarium which affects the brain in a similar way to opium, making you feel drowsy and content. You can even boil up a lettuce and drink it as tea if you aren't in the mood for rabbit food, and just like The Take of the Flopsy Bunnies, you'll soon be out cold.
Your golden ticket to the land of nod, bananas are a great source of magnesium and potassium, both of which help relax the muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin and melatonin.
Known for its relaxing properties, camomile tea is an ideal drink to sip just before bed. This soothing and calming hot drink helps increase your levels of glycine, acting as a gentle, natural sedative.