TOP 5 FOODS FOR A GOOD SLEEP
Time to read 5 min
Time to read 5 min
A good night’s sleep is like your battery recharging: if you’re not fully charged, you’re going to go flat sooner.
Getting a whole night’s sleep will determine whether you burst into your day with energy and spark or drag yourself out of bed with apathy and lethargy.
It isn’t always easy to get a solid night’s sleep. You might work late, have commitments after work, train late at night, succumb to the impulse to binge a good TV series, or find yourself catching up on emails, social media notifications and every other errand you’re scrambling to complete before bed.
There are notable ways to improve your sleep, from turning your screens off earlier and avoiding caffeine after midday to having a hot cup of tea, but one factor is often overlooked: What you eat before you go to sleep.
The food you eat and how you consume it can play a massive role in your sleep.
If you’re eating large meals too soon before bed, you may experience indigestion, heartburn and stomach issues because your stomach has not had enough time to digest the food you’ve eaten. You’ll also find that if you’re a late-night snacker, you may struggle to sleep because the sugar intake can impact your blood sugar levels, causing them to spike (McDonald, C. 2022).
Be sure to avoid food that contains hidden caffeine. Interestingly, chocolate is the biggest culprit, with dark chocolate containing the most caffeine.
Now on to the good part - 5 foods that can help you improve the quality of your sleep.
These are easy snacks to nibble on before bed and are one of the foods best for sleep.
Unsaturated fats like those found in nuts are healthy for your heart and can improve your serotonin levels. Nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and even peanut butter (with peanuts as the only ingredient) are all suitable choices (Cleveland Clinic. 2022).
Almonds are particularly effective and contain healthy monounsaturated fats, fibre, and antioxidants that can protect your cells from harmful inflammation. Almonds can also improve sleep quality because they are a natural source of melatonin, which is a hormone that signals your body to prepare for sleep (Elliott, B. 2020).
Almonds are a great source of magnesium and can provide your daily needs in just 1 ounce. Getting the right amount of magnesium each day is especially important if you want to improve the quality of your sleep (Elliott, B. 2020).
Fatty Fish may be an excellent food to improve your quality of sleep. It is a great source of vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are two nutrients that help to regulate serotonin (Huizen, K. 2019).
A study conducted over a period of several months found that people who ate salmon three times per week enjoyed a better standard of sleep overall while also functioning better during the day. The study focused primarily on fish consumption during winter (when vitamin D levels are lower), with researchers believing that the dose of vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids was significant in optimising healthy sleep (Suni, E. 2022).
Grain-based foods are classed as either refined grains or whole grains. Whole grains contain the plant’s entire kernel, which maximises the number of nutrients confined in them.
Whole grains can include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal and brown rice, and the main ingredients contained within that promote sleep are Melatonin and Zinc. Research suggests that eating more whole grains can reduce the risk of insomnia (Breus, M. 2022).
Substituting whole-grain foods in place of white bread, white pasta, and sugary foods is a small change that can help you improve the quality of your sleep.
Kiwis are a low-calorie fruit packed with nutrients, including 71% of the DV for vitamin C. It also contains Folate and Potassium in decent doses and can benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol.
Kiwis contain high amounts of fibre and carotenoid antioxidants, but the sleep-supporting benefits of kiwis are often attributed to Serotonin. Vitamin C and Carotenoids may also play a role in improving sleep. Just 1 or 2 kiwis before bed may help you fall asleep faster and for longer (Elliott, B. 2020).
Filled with melatonin, tart cherries can help you improve the quality of your sleep and can lengthen the amount of time you sleep. Tart cherries contain small amounts of both Melatonin and Tryptophan, which is an amino acid used in the production of Serotonin and Melatonin (Cleveland Clinic. 2021).
Research shows that Montmorency Cherries, known for their tart and sour taste, contain high amounts of natural Melatonin that can support the quality of your sleep.
It isn’t always possible to incorporate different foods into your diet. You might just be too busy or have certain dietary requirements that these foods don’t meet. Regardless, there is an alternative solution.
A magnesium support formula like Switch Nutrition’s Adrenal Switch can help you enhance the quality of your sleep by delivering a healthy dose of magnesium. Adrenal Switch supports not only sleep but also nutrient recovery. Magnesium can support sleep by helping your body and brain relax. It also regulates melatonin and coordinates neurotransmitters, which send signals through the nervous system and brain (Jennings, K-A. 2022).
The importance of sleep can not be overstated, and while getting the right amount of sleep isn’t always possible, inviting a few key foods to your diet can help you improve your quality of sleep. If you’re training hard in the gym, it is important to consider that a good night’s sleep can also play a massive role in your muscle growth - check out our blog on The Relationship Between Sleep & Muscle Growth to learn more!
We stock a range of Sleep Supplements across our 32 Australian stores that can help you improve your sleep quality. Head in-store or reach out online; our friendly team can help you find the best products to support your sleep.
McDonald, C. 2022, ‘How Late-Night Snacking Can Affect Your Sleep’, Ecosa, accessed 5 December 2022, https://www.ecosa.com.au/blog/post/how-late-night-snacking-can-affect-your-sleep.html
Cleveland Clinic. 2022, ‘6 Foods That Help You Sleep’, Cleveland Clinic, accessed 5 December 2022, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/foods-that-help-you-sleep/
Elliott, B. 2020, ‘The 9 Best Foods and Drinks to Have Before Bed’, Healthline, accessed 5 December 2022, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-to-help-you-sleep
Huizen, J. 2019, ‘Which foods can help you sleep?’ Healthline, accessed 5 December 2022, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324295
Suni, E. 2022, ‘The Best Foods To Help You Sleep’, Sleep Foundation, accessed 5 December 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/food-and-drink-promote-good-nights-sleep
Breus, M. 2022, ‘The Best Foods for Sleep’, The Sleep Doctor, accessed 5 December 2022, https://thesleepdoctor.com/nutrition/the-best-foods-for-sleep/
Cleveland Clinic. 2021, ‘Can Cherries Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep?’ Cleveland Clinic, accessed 5 December 2022, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/do-cherries-help-you-sleep/
Jennings, K-A. 2022, ‘How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep’, Healthline, accessed 5 December 2022, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-and-sleep#what-is-magnes