How to sleep: Eight foods to help you get a good night’s rest revealed by expert

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Sleep is very important when it comes to healthy function of the body. A lack of sleep can not only make you feel grumpy, but can increase the risk of serious health condition such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Melissa Britton, Vitality Coach at VitalityHealth, revealed to Express.co.uk why sleep plays such an integral role in our health. She said: “It’s estimated that the average person will spend a third of their life asleep – yet, we often overlook how important our time spent sleeping is, especially to our overall health.

“Restful sleep can boost our mood and give us extra energy to perform better in work, whilst a lack of sleep can have an enormous effect on our workplace productivity, impacting our decision making, creativity and memory. Even more seriously, lack of sleep can also increase our chances of developing serious medical conditions such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and even depression.

“Everyone should take a moment on World Sleep Day to challenge and assess their sleeping pattern and what changes can be made to ensure we’re all getting the best night’s sleep possible. Whether it’s limiting screen time before bed or reducing your caffeine intake in the afternoon – small changes can make a big difference and give you a health-boosting good night’s sleep.”

Vitality at Work partner SuperWellness has a number of top tips to help you get to sleep – in particular what foods you should have before bed.

Melatonin is a natural hormone responsible for regulating night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles.

Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin.

So here are eight melatonin-rich foods you should consider adding to your diet:

  • Cherry juice (Montmorency)
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Fenugreek
  • Almonds
  • Raspberries
  • Orange peppers
  • Goji berries

SuperWellness offers five other tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

1. Practise good sleep hygiene

  • Go to bed and wake up around the same time.
  • Have a warm bath with Epsom salts before bed to unwind.
  • Ditch the electronics an hour before your bedtime.
  • Exposure to blue light from smart phones, computers and TV screens supresses the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
  • Keep your bedroom cool -The ideal temperature is between 16-18C.

2. Ditch the stimulants that will keep you up

  • Avoid or minimise things like energy drinks and non-herbal teas.

3. Go for foods rich in magnesium – nature’s tranquilliser

  • Almonds, cashews, buckwheat, oats, pecans, beans, leafy green vegetables, wholegrains and dark chocolate (minimum of 70 per cent cacao) are a great source.

4. Eat a well-balanced plate

  • On your dinner plate, no more than a quarter should be filled with carbs. This will help to minimise blood sugar drops during the night, which can cause those 3am wake ups.
  • Also include good levels of protein in your meals (again, about a quarter of your plate), especially those rich in tryptophan, an amino acid, which helps your body to produce sleep hormones, melatonin.
  • You can also try a magnesium bath or foot soak before bed.

5. Exercise regularly

  • Getting active provides a natural boost to your sleep hormones and improves sleep quality at night. However, avoid heavy exercise too close to bedtime as this can keep you awake.

6. Avoid heavy meals before bed

  • Large high-refined and fatty meals fire up the metabolism as our body works hard to digest the food, making it hard to drift off.

Certain drinks before bed have also been found to help people with sleep struggles get a good night’s rest.

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