Food we eat during day impacts our night sleep: Expert
London: A sleep expert in the UK says the food we eat during the day can have an impact on each one of us when we go to bed, a media report said.
In a recent study by Sealy UK, over 65 per cent of the 2,058 Britain citizens surveyed had admitted to waking up feeling tired on at least three days every week, Mail Online reported.
The research found that vegans fared worst of all when it came to sleep quality. They woke up feeling tired — on an average — four days a week. More than one in five admitted to feeling sleepy every morning.
So, can eating certain things help us sleep better?
Sleep expert Holly Housby points out that foods can indeed help us get us a better night sleep.
One of them is cheese, especially mozzarella, a source of tryptophan that plays a vital role in the production of serotonin and in turn sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Carbohydrates have been shown to make tryptophan more available to the brain, so your late night cheese toast may actually be beneficial for sleep, the report added.
Oats can also help improve the quality of sleep due to vitamins and minerals that support relaxation. These are a natural source of melatonin — a hormone that regulates our sleeping and waking cycles.
Salmon, especially the wild variety, is a source of nutrients that encourage sleep-regulating hormone serotonin. Salmon is a good source of omega 3, magnesium, Vitamin B6 and tryptophan, all of which encourage serotonin.
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Milk is another good source of melatonin and tryptophan. This is because cows are milked at night, when their melatonin is naturally higher.
Soy products are a good source of tryptophan. Tofu is also rich in protein and can contain calcium, both of which are sleep-promoting compounds.
Eggs are high in vitamin D and contain tryptophan, both renowned for sleep-inducing properties.
Cherries contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, which work alongside melatonin to help you maintain a deeper sleep for longer, report said. Like oats, cherries are extremely high in melatonin.
Avocados contain magnesium that decreases your levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — thus helping to calm the nervous system in preparation for sleep.
Discussing the findings of the Sealy UK survey, nutritionist Dr Tom Hill was quoted: “Whilst the evidence for a role of nutrition in sleep is limited, it is well recognised that being very overweight may reduce sleep quality.
“Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet may be beneficial to maintaining healthy sleep in the long run.”
Holly said: “Many of us are desperate to achieve a better night’s sleep, but seemingly, lots of us are unaware of how the foods we eat during the day can have an impact on us during the night.
“However, it’s not just about your diet. Those looking to improve their sleep should look to do everything possible to create an environment which makes top-quality sleep more likely.
“This could include investing in a comfortable and supportive bed, avoiding alcohol in the hours before bed, or implementing a regular pre-sleep routine.”