January 10, 2023
With 40% of the UK and 35% of America suffering with symptoms of insomnia there are growing nationwide health concerns. This is due to the range of mental and physical issues that can arise from a lack of sleep.
Diet and sleep are huge factors of our everyday health, and every individual responds differently to foods and other remedies that are supposedly good for sleep. Below are a few reasons you might want to try these foods.
Tart cherries and/or tart cherry juice have performed well in studies for sleep. One study indicates that consuming two one-cup portions of tart cherry juice daily resulted in the ability to fall asleep faster, more overall sleep time and significantly less awakenings during the night.
Cherries have higher concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythm (the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle) and promotes healthy sleep. Tart cherry juice also increases the bioavailability of tryptophan which has been found to decrease the time taken to fall asleep. The enzymes within the cherries keep the tryptophan in the body longer so not only do you fall asleep quicker but stay asleep longer.
It’s important to note that tart cherry juice can contain added sugar, when too much sugar is incorporated into a diet can be harmful, so it’s recommended to choose no added sugar options if available. However, the pure fruit is full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber so can offer many other health benefits such as:
When adding the fruit or the juice into your bedtime routine it’s advised to consume daily in the morning and 1-2 hours before bedtime for optimal effect.Kiwi
Kiwifruit are well known for their significant number of nutrients and antioxidants as well as high levels of fiber, folate and potassium. However beyond just their health values, kiwis have been said to have sleep inducing qualities, allowing those who eat it before bed to fall asleep faster and for longer. It’s been hypothesized that the high antioxidant capacity, serotonin and folate content of kiwifruit may contribute to the observed sleep benefits of kiwifruit consumption.
Serotonin is one of the key chemicals that is found in high doses in kiwis. It is an end product of L-tryptophan metabolism, which is related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and low levels may cause insomnia. Folate deficiencies can also lead to symptoms of insomnia and fatigue, thus the levels of folate in kiwis could improve sleep quality for those who suffer with sleep conditions. It’s also been suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects as well.
The research shows in this study that when kiwi was consumed over a period of 4 weeks it was found to improve sleep onset, duration and efficiency. Although it’s been noted more research is currently required into kiwis, the current studies suggest that eating 1-2 kiwis an hour before bed may help people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
As a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, and protein, Bananas are also widely known for having a lot of potassium. The hormones serotonin and melatonin that are produced as a result of these nutrients are key to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.
Tryptophan, an important amino acid that can be found in bananas, has been shown to enhance the quality of sleep. Since tryptophan cannot be produced by the body, eating a banana helps to increase levels of the amino acid. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation by slowing down signals to nerve cells, and tryptophan aids in the production of serotonin. Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep and regulates our circadian rhythm, often known as the sleep-wake cycle, is regulated by serotonin.
Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which supports a healthy circadian cycle, the body’s internal clock. Magnesium also impacts the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that regulates the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands enhance the stress hormones when magnesium levels are low. A banana can be the ideal food to help you relax before bed because stress and worry are frequently linked to sleep issues including insomnia.
Given that bananas are among the top sources of potassium, it is important to note the health advantages of potassium. Low potassium levels make your muscles rigid, which leads to cramps and spasms, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A banana’s additional potassium aids in successfully stopping and starting muscle contractions, reducing the likelihood that cramps and spasms may keep you awake.
The combined nutrients and chemicals, and impacts these have on the body, make bananas a great bedtime snack to help those who struggle to sleep.
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