Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep. Lack of proper sleep caused by an unhealthy lifestyle affects your health drastically leading to mental and physical disturbances. To make the condition worse, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—disturb our natural sleep/wake cycle. A report from National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that nearly 60% of adults have sleep disturbances.
Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but very few of us actually get those eight hours of mandatory sleep.
What are the reasons for sleep problems?
There are numerous causes of sleeplessness with some of them being, disturbances in body systems, eating habits, emotional status, obesity, stress, alcohol and drug abuse. Our eating habits influence our quality of sleep. According to a study conducted in the year 2016, eating more fiber and less saturated foods improves the quality of sleep.
Foods that help you sleep better
To sleep well, you must avoid eating simple carbohydrates such as sweets, cookies, pasta, cakes, and other foods that contain a higher amount of sugar. For good and peaceful sleep, it is important to include complex carbohydrates in your diet, which comprises of bread made from whole grains, oat meal, and brown rice.
Lean protein for deep sleep
Consumption of lean proteins can help in improving your sleep. Lean proteins are loaded with amino acids and tryptophan which raise the serotonin levels of the body. Serotonin is an essential hormone for inducing sleep. Consume foods that are rich in amino acids such as turkey, fish, and low-fat cheese. But remember to avoid high fat cheese, deep fried fish, or over fried chicken.
Heart friendly fats
Unsaturated fats help in improving the serotonin levels of the body, which is useful in enhancing sleep and also improves heart health. These fats can be derived from foods such as pistachios, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, and cashews; which are both healthy and delicious. Avoid foods such as french fries, potato chips or other high-fat junk foods or snacks.
Be careful with the beverages
One must be careful with beverages, as some of them can induce sleep while others deprive you of good sleep. One glass of warm milk at night helps in having a peaceful night sleep. Herbal tea with chamomile or peppermint can also function in the same way. You must avoid beverages that contain caffeine. Caffeine is a CNS stimulant that helps you stay awake.
It is very important for you to be devoid of stress to get a good sleep. Fresh herbs such as sage and basil leaves help your body to calm down. These leaves have certain chemicals that promote sleep by reducing your stress levels. At the same time, you must avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at nights as these keep you awake owing to their stimulatory effects.
Lettuce and Kale are green leafy vegetables that contain high amounts of lactucarium and calcium respectively. Lactucarium posesses sedative properties and has an opium-like effect on the brain. A concoction of lettuce leaves and hot water can be very good before bed. Kale has calcium which enhances the production of melatonin which controls your sleep cycle and enables a good night’s rest.
Seafood that can cause sleep
Another good source of tryptophan, crustaceans like shrimp or lobster may bring on an easier sleep. Crustacean seafood including shrimp and lobster are a source of tryptophan which helps in producing serotonin levels. Higher serotonin levels help in inducing better sleep.
As sleep has a huge impact on your overall health. You must select those healthy foods that help in promoting your sleep. Try the above tips to avoid turning and tossing during the nights. Get restful sleep when you hit your bed.
1) American Psychological Association Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx