Having trouble nodding off to sleep? These are three of my favourite tips for getting a better sleep.
1. Tryptophan-rich foods:
The amino acid tryptophan is needed along with vitamins B6, B12, folic acid and zinc, to create serotonin and melatonin. So a diet lacking any of these nutrients, or one that’s low in overall protein, is likely to cause you sleep problems.
Eating a tryptophan-rich snack like my Sleepytime Banoffee Split about 1-2 hours before bedtime can really help to make the melatonin you need to aid in getting a peaceful sleep. I often opt for a handful of raw nuts and blueberries, chopped apple with a teaspoon of almond butter, or sliced banana with a sprinkle of pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
Other great options include figs, dates, hazelnut butter and warm almond milk. All of these make a tasty and comforting night-time snack, and can satisfy a sweet tooth without filling your system with refined sugar that may cause you to wake suddenly in the middle of the night.
2. Exercise earlier in the day:
Intense exercise too close to bedtime can actually delay melatonin production, energise you and keep you from getting to sleep. A good workout is a brilliant way to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, but it’s best done earlier in the day if possible, so you can feel full of energy for the day and enable the natural pattern of melatonin in your system.
3. Limit stimulants:
If you have trouble settling down or sleeping, then it’s crucial to limit tea, coffee, excess chocolate, nicotine, too much refined sugar, caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks, as caffeine stays in your system for up to 24 hours and keeps you feeling alert. Handy on some occasions but not when you’re trying to get your forty winks!
Chamomile tea has a subtle sedative effect, so that’s a useful option for a natural relaxant before bed.