A lot of people think that it’s what they do or what they eat in the period before sleep that can affect their ability to fall asleep, for instance drinking soda drinks during dinner or maybe eating some sausages before bedtime. While that may indeed hold some truth, we also need to take into consideration that our actions and food consumption throughout the day also have major effects on the way we sleep.

Let’s take a much closer look at our daily diet! The typical menu in many Australian homes is chock full of fatty dishes and processed foods and while they may taste delicious, we all know what they can do to our general health. The thing is, such stuff can also impede our capacity to experience a good night’s sleep.

Nutrition and the Way You Sleep

There are nutrients from the foods and drinks we consume that are essential for a great night’s sleep. And these nutrients should be consumed not just before you sleep, but constantly every day through a balanced diet. One of the most effective and important nutrient for sleep heath is tryptophan, a kind of amino acid that comes from lean protein. Once digested, our bodies convert this nutrient into serotonin, the chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter to our brains. Examples of lean protein sources are fish, beans, white meat, lean beef, and low fat milk.

Serotonin has been the subject of research for many years, particularly with regards to sleep. When we have enough levels of serotonin, our bodies will tend to experience better sleep. We will be able to fall asleep quicker and stay so in longer periods, enabling us to be well-rested and prepared for the new day ahead. Lack of serotonin may lead to sleeping problems and even depression.

In fact, people who are often depressed experience sleeping troubles as well. Experts advise to eat high-quality, low fat protein foods to restore and maintain the balance of serotonin levels inside our system.

The Value of Vitamins and Minerals

While it’s true that serotonin is the sleep chemical, there are also vitamins and minerals that affect the quality of our sleep. If you don’t get enough of these vitamins and minerals, chances are you likely have some problems with your sleeping habits. These nutrients have been proven to have a calming effect on the brain and body. They include:

• Calcium
• Iron
• Vitamin B3
• Vitamin B5
• Vitamin B6
• Vitamin B9
• Vitamin B12
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E

Just like tryptophan, theanine is another kind of amino acid that contributes to sleep health. It is proven to greatly help people with sleeping issues.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article entitled, “How to Use Diet to Get Better Sleep!”

 

Reference:

Zayed, A M.D. “Nutrition Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep.” Suppwise.