Eat your way to a better night’s sleep

The world can be a stressful place right now and maybe you’re struggling to sleep. We introduce five foods that will aid a restful and peaceful slumber...

A good night’s sleep can make everything suddenly feel a little bit alright. You have more energy, you’re more alert and a whole lot less grouchy.

To achieve restorative zeds tonight and beyond, incorporate these edible (and drinkable) aids into your diet.

Raisin shine 
Yes, can you believe it, the good old raisin can help you achieve quality slumber. You see, they contain melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, grapes (aka raisins in original form) contain tryptophan (an essential amino acid we don’t produce naturally and need to source via our diet), which cleverly helps the body produce melatonin. Win win. There is a yet- to-be-proven-conclusively theory that raisins also put paid to annoying night-time trips to the loo! You don’t have to devour a box before bed, simply snack on them throughout the day or even try out some of the many recipes that are naturally sweetened by dried grapes. We love the selection of snack and meal ideas over at the Sun-Maid Californian Raisins website 

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Fishing for a sound sleep solution?
Fatty fish, research has indicated, may be an aid to quality sleep. Those who ate salmon three times a week had “a better overall sleep as well as improved daytime functioning”. Experts believe this is partly due to the fish delivering vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which support serotonin regulation, low levels of which can cause insomnia and depression. Again, we don’t advise tucking into a plate of fish in your PJs, but as a healthy dinner option, tired, irritable days could soon be a thing of the past.

The rice way
There is evidence that eating rice can help you sleep better. A study of adults in Japan found that participants who regularly ate rice experienced better sleep than those who ate more bread or noodles. The study tied in with previous research that revealed eating high-glycemic index food (one of which is rice) about four hours before you hit the hay aided falling asleep. 

Cherry good news for insomniacs
Not the sweet ones, the tart ones that make your mouth make strange shapes! According to several studies, sour cherries (which you can buy to eat, pop in tarts or drink) help you sleep well due to the cherry’s higher- than-average melatonin levels. They too potentially have an antioxidant effect, which can support nice and sleepy bedtimes.

Insomnia driving you bananas?
Eat one! Yep, they are full of magnesium and potassium, which are key to relaxing muscles (especially those that are super stressed) and, just like the grape, they contain tryptophan too. If a late-night banana isn’t your bag, whip into a warm drink/smoothie and drift away in no time.

Sleep well, everyone...
But remember, sleep deprivation is no joke and The Sleep Charity offers support for those struggling.