#36alive 30: Eat Well to Sleep Well

An important part of getting good quality sleep, is getting good quality nutrients. What we consume can either keep us awake at night and compromise digestion, or offer the key to a sound night’s sleep.

Here’s how to give your body what it needs before bed:

Look for foods with high amounts of magnesium (great for relaxing the nerves and muscles), calcium and tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin – a powerful mood booster – and melatonin – a sleep-inducer.

walnutsWalnuts – ‘A good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles’. http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/foods-that-help-you-sleep/

Cherries – Boost levels of melatonin, encouraging relaxation and good quality sleep. Cherries are also brilliant for circulation and can help muscle recovery after exercise.charries1

Chamomile tea – Increases glycine, which acts as a mild sedative to relax nerves and muscles.

Magnesium – If you do choose to take supplements, magnesium may be one of the most important ones to consider. This mineral is essential for the contraction of muscles, and for maintaining the health of joints. Not only that, but magnesium is great for enhancing muscle and nerve relaxation, important for ensuring a good night’s sleep. Take a look at this piece on the many different types of magnesium, and which may be the most beneficial.

Bananas – Mood boosting and muscle relaxing; bananas are full of potassium, which helps relax muscles, and also contains high levels of magnesium, calcium and tryptophan.

lettuceRomaine Lettuce – Contains high levels of lactucarium act as a sedative to the brain, and actually acts similarly to opium!

Dairy – The calcium & tryptophan from dairy products help the brain make melatonin, and helps regulate muscle movements. Vegan? Then try calcium from sources like sesame seeds, bok choy, kale and almonds.

Try adding a few of these foods to your lunch or dinner for the next few weeks, and let us know how your sleep improves!

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