Sleep is an essential component to a healthy body. It is just as important as a nutrient dense balanced diet, because sleep is the body’s natural way of recovering. When you sleep for 14 hours after several stressed days, your body is telling you that it needed to recharge. The goal is to maintain a regular sleep schedule to keep your mental and physical health in tiptop shape.
Your Diet And Your Sleep
Many people don’t understand that the food you eat can influence your sleeping habits. Certain foods can keep you up at night, while other foods can lull you into a restful night of sleep. Instead of turning to food, people commonly resort to supplements that claim to relax the body or calm the mind. We aren’t knocking supplementation, because it is occasionally necessary if you don’t eat foods that contain those specific nutrients. And you definitely need certain nutrients to maintain healthy sleep patterns.
Well, you don’t have to worry about supplementation to get a good night’s sleep any longer. We have the best nutrients (and where to get them) to help you fall asleep. Continue reading to find out what they are.
Found in sweet potatoes, hemp seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, bananas, chia seeds, and yogurt, tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter, is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that your brain produces to regulate your circadian rhythm.
The sunshine vitamin, also known as vitamin D, works to regulate hormones, improve bone health, boost immune function, and contributes to a good night’s sleep. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with daytime sleepiness or low energy levels. While fortified foods and mushrooms contain vitamin D, the best way to absorb it is by soaking up natural sunlight. Soak up that sun in the day to sleep better at night.
A relaxed nervous system can help decrease the body’s stress response, which contributes to sounder sleep. Vitamin B6 helps to relax the nervous system by aiding the conversion of 5HTP to serotonin. Additionally, vitamin B6 helps relieve the adrenal glands of stress, which can promote better sleep. Add more vitamin B6 to your diet by eating more tomatoes, spinach, kumara, bananas, nuts, and avocados.
Lots of people take melatonin supplements to fall asleep more easily. Much like tryptophan, melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. Since there are so many melatonin supplements, people don’t turn to food for this hormone. As it turns out, eating foods with melatonin can actually assist your body in producing more melatonin. Melatonin-rich foods include tart cherries and walnuts, while foods that boost melatonin production include bananas, pineapples, and oranges.
Unfortunately, most people don’t consume enough magnesium-rich foods. It plays many roles in the body, one being that it helps to relax the body by combatting stress hormones. Most people with high stress levels are often deficient in magnesium, and cannot relax as a result. Keep in mind that caffeinated beverages can decrease your magnesium levels, so avoid these drinks (or limit your consumption) if you want to sleep better and maintain healthy magnesium levels. Great magnesium-rich foods include almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, raw cacao powder, avocados, spinach, and quinoa.
According to several studies, disturbances in the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle may be linked to calcium deficiencies. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, and the brain is most active during this stage of sleep. When people don’t get enough REM sleep, they can experience difficulty learning complex tasks. Most experts believe that this is due to the heightened brain activity during this state, and missing out on this affects learning. Increase your calcium levels by eating mustard greens, sesame seeds, kale, collard greens, and sea vegetables.