The age old saying “you are what you eat” not only implies to our physical health but also to our psychological health. Your diet has a huge role to play when it comes to attaining a good might’s rest. Eating foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan is an effective way to induce melatonin. Tryptophan produces an abundance of serotonin which then produces melatonin- the sleep inducing chemical.
Foods containing tryptophan:
Tryptophan is found in a lot of meats such as chicken, turkey, pork, and fish. Turkey, chicken, pork all are great dinner options since it has 0.24g of Tryptophan per 100g. However, the winner of this round is evidently fish with 0.70g of Tryptophan! The types of fish with the most sleep inducing properties are oily fish, salmon, tuna, cod, and sardines.
Eggs whites are another great source of tryptophan to consume at dinner. In addition to tryptophan, egg whites have eleven other minerals including a high source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C produces serotonin which as mentioned increase melatonin.
A warm glass of milk before bed is a nightly ritual for many American household and there is a reason to this- diary such as low fat milk contains high concentrations of tryptophan.
Vegetables and fruits that contain high source of fibre, protein and fats typically contain higher levels of tryptophan.
Spinach is a sleep superfood since it contains 157mg mf magniusm – which is 39% of an adult’s recommended intake! In addition to the abundance of magniuem, it also contains potassium and calcium- both which are highly effective in increasing melatonin.
Lettuce – Another leafy super food due to it’s mild sedative properties. Since Lettuce contains lactucarium, a milky substance responsible for the sedative.
Kale- It’s seem the dark, leafy vegetable family really contributes to healthy sleep. Kale is a superfood for so many health factors. Being loaded with calcium helps sleepiness because calcium produces tryptophan.
Nuts are a great sleep companion as they are rich in serotonin and magnesium. Particularly the nuts with the highest levels of tryptophan are walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Beans have been used widely by many societies to treat insomnia, alleviate stress and anxiety. This is because beans contain natural melatonin inducing vitamins such as B vitamins like B6, niacin, and folate.
Bananas contain high sources of potassium making them a great night time indulgence as this mineral is vital to a good night’s sleep. In addition bananas contain high levels of tryptophan and magnesium which are a natural sedative.
Cherries have some of the highest levels of melatonin found in any food, especially when concentrated into a juice. Thus a glass of cherry juice before bed is sure to help you produce melatonin.
Grapes are another fruit that have high levels of melatonin and an easy light snack before bed. However, this only implies to natural grapes and not wine. Contrary to popular beliefs, wine and alcohol hinders quality sleep.
Foods to avoid
Caffeine is the sworn enemy of sleep, and although coffee is an obvious choice to forgo, many other foods contain high amounts of caffeine. Dark chocolate has high amounts of caffeine that should be avoided to keep the brain calm and suppressed before bed.
Spicy foods increases the alert state in the body, increase heart rate and activity and thus should be thoroughly avoided before bed.
This may upset cheese lovers but hard cheese such as swiss, parmesan, cheddar and camembert contain high amounts of saturated fats and stimulates acid production. This often causes indigestion and reduces sleep inducing hormones.
For centuries tomatoes have been debated between whether is a fruit or vegetable. But one fact about a tomatoes is that is not advised to eat this before bed. Tomatoes contain a chemical called tyramine which alerts the brain through stimulation and suppresses sleep.