April 20, 2022
It’s amazing to think that certain types of food and drink can help you to sleep better – but it’s true! Most of us know that chocolate and other sugary foods are more likely to rev you up, and even more so if you are tucking into them before bedtime. Spicy, fatty and acidic food (such as curry, onions, pickles and strongly flavoured crisps) eaten late at night can also cause sleep issues.
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, so if you tend to drink a lot of tea, coffee or energy drinks throughout the day and into the evening, then this can impact on your sleep. It can also increase your blood pressure, which is known to cause problems with sleeping. This also applies to some brands of ‘diet’ drinks, which contain as much caffeine as their regular sugar-loaded counterparts! It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re also going through the Peri Menopause or Menopause, these types of food and drink - especially those with caffeine - can exacerbate ‘night sweats’.
Now for the good news! We’ve put together some suggested diet tweaks that can help to ease your body into a more peaceful sleep.
HIGH PROTEIN FOODS: these contain tryptophan, an amino acid that’s essential for the production of serotonin, which triggers the production of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin. Tryptophan is found in chicken, fish, beans and oats.
FERMENTED FOODS: these contain GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid – phew that’s a long one!), which soothes the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure and slows brain waves – all of which will help you to relax and sleep. GABA can be found in pickled vegetables, such as kimchi, and also in GABA Oolong teas.
MAGNESIUM: studies have shown that magnesium can help increase the amount of time we stay asleep. It can also weaken the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Boost your magnesium levels with dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.