Leading a busy life juggling work, play and family can sometimes make it seem there is never enough time for sleep. When you finally crash in your bed at the end of the day, you need to maximise the precious hours you spend there with some quality sleep, not lying awake and staring at the ceiling. A 2016 survey by the Australian Sleep Foundation found that up to 45% of adult lives were impacted after experiencing poor sleep. While there are a multitude of causes that lead to nights of wakefulness, small changes to your diet are easy to implement and may offer good results quickly.
The production of melatonin, the body's sleep hormone, relies on the availability of a number of vitamins and minerals, including but not limited to Vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as protein. Deficiencies or even low levels of these elements can lead to sleep disturbances. If your diet is lacking, simply including foods high in these elements should provide some relief from sleepless nights.
Great foods to add to the top of your next shopping list include:
- Wholegrains - barley, oats or cracked wheat are a good source of magnesium
- Fish - like salmon and tuna are stacked with vitamin B6, fresh or canned
- Bananas - a perfect 'on the go' option and chock full of potassium
- Almonds - another portable snack bursting with magnesium
- Yogurt or a glass of milk - just before bed for a sleep inducing calcium boost
- Decaffeinated or herbal tea - chamomile or decaf green tea are warm and soothing before bed.
As you add these sleep superstars to your menu, ditch the coffee and other caffeinated drinks especially later in the day. A stimulant and diuretic, caffeine is not good news for good sleep. Similarly avoid excess alcohol which tends to make you sleepy initially and wide awake later on. Try to eat your main meal early, giving your body time to digest your meal and relax before bedtime.