bananas

Tip of the week-A Good Nights Sleep.

Eating certain food before going to bed can help you fall asleep, particularly those containing tryptophan-an amino acid that increases the brain’s serotonin levels. The foods that naturally contain the highest amount of tryptophan are bananas and turkey, but Marmite, dairy products, almonds, sunflower seeds, dates, tofu and eggs also contain it.

It is recommended to eat foods that contain tryptophan alongside healthy carbs, as this will help it to reach the brain faster. Other foods that can also improve getting to sleep are oats and lettuce.

Oats (as well as containing tryptophan) also contain melatonin, released by the pineal gland when it gets dark to regulate your body clock. It is therefore recommended to eat a few oatcakes or porridge with warm milk before bed. Sweetcorn, tomatoes, rice, tart cherries and ginger also contain small amounts of melatonin.

A green salad is also recommended to have with dinner as lettuce contains a chemical related to opiates called lactucarium.

If you are currently struggling with insomnia, there are a number of foods that should be avoided.

Spicy, sugary, high-protein or high-fat foods eaten late at night can lead to heartburn or indigestion that will prevent you from getting to sleep easily.

Caffeine (including that contained in chocolate!) should also be avoided as it stimulates our central nervous system and can stay in our systems for 8 hours or longer.

Alcohol is also not recommended (especially when having more then 1 drink), as although it will help you to drift off initially, it prevents you from getting into a deep sleep, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night, and feel terrible in the morning.

Although it is a myth that cheese causes nightmares, it can make you more likely to wake during REM sleep, meaning you are more likely to remember your dreams. This is possibly due to the high fat content cheese contains, causing indigestion that wakes you, and this therefore will not help you to get a decent night’s sleep.

So remember all these tips and put them into practice in order to improve the quality of your sleep!

Emma Driskel-Fitness Professional @Bexley

15/09/2010