Some foods can promote better sleep and some disturb it, but I want to focus on the good one here😉.
Of course there are many factors that are out of our control, such as noise, temperature, shift work, jet-lag or maybe even loved one 😴 snoring.
We all want to have a good night sleep and the good news is, that there are lots of things we can do to help us with that. Things like gentle yoga, meditation, relaxation, good book, warm bath, essential oils, massage, etc. all can contribute good night sleep.
But did you know that your quality of sleep has something to do with the foods you eat? Studies show that nutrition can have far reaching effects on our state of mind. As our sleep can often be disturbed by anxiety, stress and pain, it’s good to know which foods and herbs can help facilitate our body’s system and overactive brain switching into rest mode.
Cutting caffeinated drinks out of your diet ensures that your nervous system is not over-agitated when it comes to bedtime. Caffeine disturbs the receptors in your brain that receive the brain chemical adenosine. Studies show that neurotransmitter adenosine has a major influence on non-REM sleep. Replacing tea and ☕ coffee with green tea has other brain boosting benefits too. Nutritionist Jenny Tschiesche says: “Green tea contains a brain relaxing chemical called L-Theanine, which encourages the production of alpha waves. These are the brain waves we produce when we are relaxed”. Further benefits from the brain relaxing effects of L-Theanine can be found in matcha tea, which is the youngest highest grade leaves of the same plant. Matcha contains up to five times as much L-Theanine as regular green tea and both matcha and green tea can be consumed throughout the day and even into the evening, unlike other caffeinated drinks, and still promote relaxation and wellbeing leading to a good night’s sleep.
Potassium has been linked with improved sleep. Food sources of potassium include leafy greens, avocados and bananas. Including these foods is a good idea to help improve your quality and length of sleep.
A banana a day will keep your doctor away😉👍
Pumpkin seeds contain the sleep inducing, mood enhancing phytochemical L-tryptopham, and are also rich in zinc, which helps the body use this important nutrient. Including pumpkin seeds in your diet can aid sleep and they can easily be eaten raw or roasted, scattered over salads, or packed into a flapjack. The recommended daily serving of pumpkin seeds is 1-2 tbsp per day.
Herbal adaptogens such as liquorice do just that, help the body adopt to extremes like stress. Liquorice root has been found to help regulate cortisol, the stress hormone produced by adrenal glands. Chewing liquorice root can serve two purposes, because while it’s giving our adrenals a break it can also distract from the state of anxiety by providing something to hold and chew. Liquorice can be enjoyed as a tea by infusing the shredded or powdered root in boiling water.
Lavender oil consists of mainly linalyl acetate and linalool both phytochemicals that are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. Research shows that these compounds inhibit several neurotransmitters causing a sedative effect. In folklore and traditional herb use, lavender has long been associated with peace and protection. Lavender essential oil can be added to a hot bath before bed or inhaled by putting a few drops on a handkerchief or in an oil diffuser. Lavender is especially effective with babies and small children and can form a relaxing part of a bedtime routine.
This pretty flower is a herbal sedative and can be suppress the over-excitation of the nervous system. For years, chamomile tea has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. Chamomile has properties that may aid sleep and digestion, as well.
This pungent smelling herb has a long history of use as a sedative because of its GABA boosting effects on the brain. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA ) is a neurotransmitter that can dampen and reduce the activity of the brain’s neurons. The most popular use of this versatile herb is as a sleep aid. It also has pain-relieving and muscle relaxant properties that can bring relief if these are contributing to sleep loss. Valerian can be drunk as a tea by simmering the root in water for 15 minutes or as a herbal tincture.
10 WAYS TO HAVE A BETTER NIGHTS SLEEP:
1. Cut out caffeine as this inhibits your brain’s sleep-time signals.
2. Get active, as physical activity supports healthy natural sleep triggers.
3. Beat the daytime stress as this can inhibit sleep.
4. Drink a calming herbal tea in the evening and help the nervous system relax.
5. Take a hot bath with magnesium salts and lavender oil before bed.
6. Don’t go to bed hungry as low blood sugar can trigger stress.
7. Try 5 minutes mindfulness or deep breaths before turning off the light.
8. Make bedtime a digital detox zone, as the light from screens can disrupt melatonin production.
9. Make sue your bedroom is properly dark with no light coming in, especially in summer.
10. A bedtime routine, association and repetition can establish positive sleep behaviour .
Source: Vegan Food & Living magazine