sleep – it should come naturally but if your anything like me winding down for a restful nights sleep is a process that starts well before your head hits the pillow. Getting plenty of ZZZs is one of the most important aspects of self-care – and it’s no secret that when our sleep suffers, our health suffers. A good night’s sleep is essential to regulating energy, hormones, hunger, digestion, memory recall and even our appearance. When we are well rested were more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day, in turn, helping us attain a blissful nights sleep. The food we choose to eat and when we eat it can have a huge impact on the quality and duration of our sleep. We all know to avoid sugar and caffeine before bedtime but some foods have the opposite effect and can ease us into sleep. If your sleep cycle is less than refreshing add some of these foods to your meals to help you drift off into dreamland.
Pumpkins – all orange foods are high in the vitamin aplha-carotene, pumpkins especially, which has been shown to promote quality sleep. They are also a great source of complex carbs that sustain energy levels throughout the day.
Avocado – These guys are high in healthy fats that help keep us fuller for longer. Add half an avo to your dinner to keep you satisfied and avoid late night snacking.
Walnuts – These nuts are high in melatonin, our sleep hormone. Enjoying a serve of walnuts each day can increase your melatonin levels helping you get to sleep easier.
Herbal Tea – Teas like chamomile, valerian root and passion flower all have relaxing effects, reducing anxiety and calming an overly active monkey mind. Best to enjoy them half an hour before bed because they can make you drowsy.
Dark Leafy Greens – My favourite food group! All dark leafy veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach are high in magnesium which helps regulate the body’s stress response, promotes muscle relaxation and sleep.
Pumpkin Seeds – This superfood snack is loaded with the amino acid tryptophan that our body uses to make serotonin & melatonin. When levels of these hormones are high experience better moods and better quality sleep. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc which can assist the brain in converting tryptophan into these our feel-good hormones.
Mushrooms – Just like humans mushrooms produce vitamin d in response to sun exposer making them a fantastic plant-based source of this vitamin. Low levels of vitamin D have been shown to affect the quality and quantity of sleep.