Health

Eating these foods can help improve sleep

Kiwis and bananas are fruits that may help you drift off more easily

Getting sufficient and uninterrupted sleep is essential for your overall health.

Not only does it lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses, it also strengthens your immune system while keeping your brain and digestive system in good functioning order.

Seven to eight hours sleep is recommended , and before 11pm if possible. If you are sleep-deprived, your body is less able to repair itself and produce sufficient antibodies to fight off pathogens and therefore infections and diseases.

With World Sleep Day on March 13, consider incorporating more of these foods into your diet as they contain natural chemicals that are touted to lead you to better sleep.

MILK

Most dairy products (such as cheese and milk) contain tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, as well as calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan to produce melatonin.

Plus, studies have shown that, when paired with exercise during the day, milk is able to improve the quality of our sleep.

KIWI

Have one or two kiwis before hitting the sack, as they contain serotonin, which helps to promote sleep. Plus, the vitamin C and carotenoid antioxidants it contains help to fight inflammation, which can help improve sleep quality too.

WALNUTS

Eating a handful of walnuts before going to bed may help you drift off to sleep more easily, thanks to the melatonin and heart-healthy fatty acids they contain.

ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid that the body converts to DHA, which increases the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates sleep and mood.

BANANAS

In addition to tryptophan, bananas also contain magnesium, which helps to maintain healthy levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (Gaba), a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, in our body so that we can get a deep, restorative sleep.

PASSIONFLOWER TEA

This herbal tea helps to reduce anxiety with an antioxidant called apigenin, which creates a calming effect by increasing the production of Gaba, the brain chemical that inhibits other brain chemicals that cause stress.

Because of these calming properties, passionflower tea can help make you feel sleepy when it is time for bed.

CHAMOMILE TEA

Similarly, this herbal tea also contains sleep-promoting apigenin that reduces insomnia.

Studies have found that consuming chamomile tea twice daily can lead to less waking up at night time, as well as a reduced risk of depression, which is associated with sleep problems.

ALMONDS

They can raise the quality of your sleep, because they contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin and magnesium.

Magnesium is used to treat insomnia because it increases the amount of Gaba, which encourages sleep and relaxation, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which can interrupt sleep.

FATTY FISH

Eating salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout before bed can also help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. This is because both omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D have been proven to increase the production of serotonin, the brain chemical that promotes sleep.

TART CHERRY JUICE

Fruits high in melatonin such as tart cherries, grapes and pomegranate can help to improve sleep quality, and tart cherry juice can promote sleepiness and relieve insomnia.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY