Posted 15th May
If you struggle to sleep at night, a few tweaks to your diet could make all the difference
With National Vegetarian Week upon us (14-20th May), it seems the ideal time to try making these changes - many of the foods that form the cornerstone of your vegetarian diet contain sleep-inducing chemicals, including serotonin, tryptophan and melatonin.
Neil Robinson, Sealy's UK sleep expert, offers his top tips on the foods you should consider trying to get a better night's sleep.
Kale is rich in calcium, which is a natural sleep aid. A deficiency in your diet could be making it difficult to fall asleep at night. Calcium contains tryptophan, the amino acid that your body uses to create melatonin - this is the hormone that induces sleep.
Bananas are very useful when you're battling insomnia - they have naturally high levels of the amino acid tryptophan. The sedative effect this causes is enhanced by the high levels of magnesium and potassium, which relax the muscles, promoting a relaxing night's snooze.
If you need a pre-bedtime snack, a handful of almonds could be ideal. They contain tryptophan and magnesium (like bananas) and have a high protein content which keeps you feeling full at night.
A bowl of milky porridge could be the supper you need in your life. They're great for keeping your heart healthy and contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals that collectively work to encourage relaxation. Oats are a natural source of melatonin - this hormone regulates our sleeping and waking cycles, so are guaranteed to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep.
Cherries are not only a delicious snack but are also very high in melatonin and contain antioxidants like anthocyanins. This will work alongside the melatonin to help you to maintain a deeper sleep for longer.
6 Peanuts or peanut butter
Both peanuts and peanut butter are high in niacin - this is a form of vitamin B3 which aids the production of serotonin. This is the hormone which helps our moods. Rich in good fats, peanuts and peanut butter, keep you fuller for longer, which means you don't wake up hungry in the night.
7 Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea increases the levels of glycine, the amino acid which causes our muscles to relax. The anti-anxiety effects of glycine mean chamomile tea is ideal for de-stressing.
Due to the high magnesium content in avocado, it could be just what you need to drift off into a deep sleep. Research shows magnesium decreases our levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases irritability and impedes your sleep.