What are the best sleep-inducing foods? This might be a question you ask yourself as you lie awake at night struggling to doze off!
The importance of sleep is quite often overlooked. But getting a good night sleep is just as important as a healthy diet or exercise!
Unfortunately, though, sometimes sleep evades us. In fact, we’ve probably all been there before, lying awake at night counting how many hours sleep we’ll get if we fall asleep now. Or now. Of course, sleep just doesn’t work like that.
So, if you are struggling to sleep at night, what can you do to help? Perhaps you’ve already tried malt drinks such as Horlicks or Ovaltine to help with sleep – or are wondering which one is best!
Ovaltine or Horlicks: which is best for sleep?
But are there sleep-inducing foods you can eat? Or foods you should avoid?
Well, we’re going to look at why getting a good night’s sleep is so important. And, of course, tell you the 5 best sleep-inducing foods to help you drift off a little easier!
Why is sleep so important?
In our busy lives of work, socialising, running a household, most of us are failing to get enough sleep. Perhaps it’s because sleep doesn’t always feel like a priority?
On the other hand, for some of us, it doesn’t matter how tired or relaxed we are, we cannot fall asleep. Sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of things. This can include, stress, anxiety and even diet.
Unfortunately, whether you cannot sleep, or don’t have time to sleep, it doesn’t alter the fact that sleep is incredibly important if we want to function properly.
So, let’s look at the reasons why sleep is so important, and how it can benefit our health and wellbeing!
Well, there’s no denying we’ve probably all turned up to work after a bad night’s sleep and noticed our concentration levels are low!
Sleep helps our brains function, and so if you’re tired, you will struggle to concentrate. In addition to that, your productivity will be lower, and you may even feel clumsy too!
Helps support positive mental health
Sleep is incredibly important to aiding positive mental health.
Why? Well, studies have shown that people that suffer with insomnia are much more likely to suffer from depression. Not only that, but lack of sleep can cause us to feel emotional, sad, and overwhelmed much easier that if we are facing the day after a good, long, night sleep.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Heart disease is a common medical complaint among adults and is caused by high blood pressure. Luckily, a good night’s sleep can reduce your risk of heart disease.
How? Well, whilst we are asleep, our bodies use the time to regulate our blood pressure. So, regular sleep patterns can reduce your risk of heart disease and give your body time to care for itself.
Lower risk of weight gain
When we are tired, our bodies struggle to regulate our calorie consumption and hunger levels.
In fact, you might have noticed if you are tired during the day, your urge to snack is stronger? Well, that’s because the hormones that help regulate our calorie consumption are disrupted when we are tired.
So, having a regular and structured sleep pattern can benefit your health in many ways. Of course, if you struggle to sleep it’s not that easy. Which is why we’re going to tell you the best sleep-inducing foods!
Best sleep-inducing foods
So, you’re struggling to sleep at night and want to know the best sleep-inducing foods? Or, you’re struggling to stay awake in the day and want to know which sleep-inducing foods to avoid!
Well, there are many foods (and drinks) out there that can aid sleep. In fact, some of them you may eat regularly already.
Well, let’s take a look at the 5 best sleep-inducing foods!
Almonds are going straight to the top of the list as possibly the best sleep-inducing food.
Why is this? Well, almonds are a source of melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep. In addition to that, almonds are also a great source of magnesium and calcium – making them a popular and healthy choice for those on a vegan diet – or anyone else!
Vegans or meat eater: who is healthier?
Due to their high dose of melatonin, good fats and low sugar count, almonds are a great evening snack.
Sounds too obvious doesn’t it? But really, warm milk is a popular sleep-inducing food for a reason!
Yes, it isn’t just a myth, milk actually contains four properties known to induce sleep. These are calcium, vitamin D, melatonin, and tryptophan. Of course, warm milk is also a very comforting and relaxing drink, which makes it a perfect bedtime drink alone.
So, next time you’re struggling to sleep, try a cup of warm milk.
Ok, so this might sound like a strange one, but kiwifruit is a highly effective sleep-inducing food!
Kiwifruit contains a number of compounds thought to promote sleep. These include, melatonin, flavonoids, potassium, magnesium and calcium among others. Not only that, but kiwifruit is a low-calorie, naturally sweet, healthy snack.
So, next time you reach for the biscuits before bed – try a kiwifruit instead!
Another popular sleep-inducing bedtime drink is chamomile tea. This herbal tea is thought to promote sleep through a compound called apigenin which stimulates sleep.
Of course, chamomile tea doesn’t only induce sleep through its sleep-stimulating properties. A hot cup of tea before bed can actually be an incredibly relaxing habit to get into. Particularly if you do it on a nightly basis, this calming ritual can mentally prepare your brain to wind down, allowing you to drift off much easier. We’re getting tired just thinking about it!
Another sleep-inducing food on the list is cherries.
Cherries also contain sleep-regulating compounds melatonin, potassium, serotonin, and tryptophan. Yes, that’s a lot contained in such a small fruit!
These tart little fruits aren’t only a great snack to induce sleep, however. They are also rich in fibre, vitamin C and vitamin E. So, you can enjoy a handful of cherries before bed, and not only will you sleep well – you’ll be healthier too!
If you are looking for a sleep-inducing food that is naturally sweet and easy to digest, you can try bananas.
These fruits are high in magnesium and tryptophan so will help regulate sleep hormones, letting you drift off and enjoy a full night’s sleep.
So, there you have it, the 5 best sleep-inducing foods! Of course, the benefit to all these foods is that they are also incredibly good for you!
But now we know which foods you can enjoy to induce sleep, what foods should you be avoiding that might keep sleep at bay?
Let’s find out!
Foods to avoid before bed
If you are struggling to sleep at night, it’s helpful to know what foods and drinks to avoid that will exacerbate the problem.
So, let’s have a look at the best foods to avoid if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
An obvious, but important one. If you want to fall asleep easily at night, the best thing you can do is avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch. Caffeine can remain in the system for up to six hours! If you desperately need a coffee or tea in the evening – try decaf.
It’s also worth noting that some strong dark chocolate can also contain caffeine, so be wary of accidental caffeine consumption through late-night chocolate snacking!
Spicy food can be hard to digest, and it can also trigger digestive trouble such as indigestion and heartburn. For these reasons, try and avoid eating spicy food too late at night. Digestive trouble will definitely make it harder to sleep!
Whilst alcohol might seem as though it puts you to sleep quicker, the quality of sleep you will get will be poor. Unfortunately, alcohol is a stimulant, and can lead to broken sleep and leave you feeling tired (and potentially hungover) the following day. Of course, if you don’t manage to avoid the hangover, at least learn how to treat a hangover headache fast!
Now we know the best foods to induce-sleep, and the foods to avoid that will prevent sleep. Remember, sleep-inducing foods can certainly help with getting good night’s rest, but you also need to allow yourself time to wind-down, and relax in the evening too!