Sound the alarm, because we are in a sleep crisis! Whether it’s because we’re staying up too late, drinking too much coffee or feeling too darn stressed all the time, studies show that we're getting way less shuteye than we should. And while that deadline won't go away, one factor that you can easily control is what you eat. Believe it or not, certain foods can actually help you to nod off faster and stay asleep for longer. Have a look at the list of foods I've clubbed together that tick all the boxes, and then go ahead and treat yourself to a pre-bedtime nibble - guilt free.
These tasty nuts are rich in magnesium, which is an excellent pro-sleep mineral. Knock 'em back plain and unsalted, or spread some almond butter on a rice cake.
Packed with both potassium and magnesium, these babies can help to relax muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which helps to produce the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin.
Another important nutrient for sleep is the antioxidant, lycopene, which grapefruits (and tomatoes and watermelon) have tons of. Lycopene also supports heart and bone health. So, win-win-win.
This one aids mood regulation and promotes drowsiness and relaxation. The experts suggest combining yoghurt with a carb such as a banana or some granola to help transport tryptophan to the brain.
Strawberries and Tart Cherries
These sweet berries offer a natural source of melatonin (the hormone that helps regulate your body's sleep-wake cycle), and tart cherries provide the added benefit of having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the bod to help you manage pain, should you have any. Pair your berries with some low-fat Greek yoghurt so you get a dose of protein to help keep you full.
Meet the powerhouse of nutrition. High in fibre, low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamins A, C, and B6 (which also helps make melatonin), as well as potassium and manganese, they will help you produce serotonin (a chemical that's a natural mood stabilizer), and because they contain the minerals, magnesium and zinc, two micronutrients that work together to create melatonin, they will have you snoozing well in no time. Try them in fritter-form or stuffed with some guacamole. Yum!
Walnuts and pine nuts
These superfoods are packed with sleep-strengthening nutrients. Walnuts specifically help melatonin to circulate better throughout the body. Throw back some roasted ones, add them to salads or grind them up and use in a pesto.
All that's left to say is Bon Appetit and Sweet dreams! If food doesn't help, maybe give our bedtime story a read...
Written by: Nina Clark, founder.