Insomnia: 10 foods to help you get a good night’s sleep

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Insomnia: 10 foods to help you get a good night’s sleep
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In a previous article we have looked at the foods that you should try and avoid if you are looking to get a good night’s sleep.  Some foods can make it difficult to sleep peacefully and can cause indigestion problems.  However there are some foods that can have the opposite effect and are great at helping you have a better sleep!  Let’s have a look at ten foods that you should try and eat if you are looking for a better night’s sleep or suffer from insomnia. 

1) Rice

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An American study has proven that those that eat rice during their evening meal will to fall asleep twice as quick as others.  Rice is assimilated by our body very slowly which mean that the digestion is also long.  As a result rice does not produce blood sugar peaks.  This means that if we eat rice before going to bed we can fall asleep more quickly and will have a sounder sleep.  Apparently Thai rice is the best type of rice that you can eat in this manner.

2) Potatoes

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Just like other starchy produce, potatoes have a low blood sugar level and are rich in starch which is a type of sugar that helps you to fall asleep.  The type of food fills you up so that you don’t wake in the middle of the night as you are hungry.  This is also the same for sweet potatoes and parsnips.  However you should avoid eating purees or mashed potatoes as this breaks the fibers and transforms the starch into a sugar with a high glycemic index.

3) Pasta

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Just like rice, Bulgar, quinoa or even wholemeal bread, pasta is a good choice for a meal before you go to bed.  It contains sugars with a low glycemic index that helps to fill you up and therefore prevents you from feeling hungry in the middle of the night with increasing you blood sugar.  The carbohydrates secrete insulin and then serotonin and lastly melatonin so that you can have a good night’s sleep.  If you are not sure what pasta to choose remember that wholemeal pasta is better!

4) Banana

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For lots of people a glass of warm milk before going to bed is the best way to have a dose of tryptophan which is a precursor for serotonin.  However some fruits like dates, mangoes and bananas are even more effective.  Bananas are even better as the have a lot of magnesium and potassium which relaxes muscles.  It is also rich in the sleeping hormone melatonin.

5) Oily fish

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Red meat is not recommended to eat at night as it is high in protein and is rich in tyrosine which is an amnio acid that has reactive effect on the metabolism.  However red meat can be easily replaced by white meats like chicken or even better fatty  fish!  With your carbohydrates you can eat foods that promote a good night’s sleep that are high in vitamin B6, tryptophan and or omega 3.  This includes sardines, salmon, halibut, mackerel and even tuna which will all help you get a better night’s sleep.  Remember that rapeseed oil or linseed oil are also rich in omega 3 that is good for your sleep and for your brain.

6) Cherries

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Treat yourself to some cherries when they are in season,  Just like cashew nuts, grapes, tomatoes or olives, cherries are rare foods that contain melatonin which is the sleep hormone.  A British study from 2011 which was confirmed by another study in 2014, showed that cherry juice contain real cherries could be a good way to fall asleep for easily.

7) Pulses

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Pulses are digested slowly and have a sedative effect that is good in the evening.  You can combine the protein found in pulses with grains and vegetables to have full and balanced meal.  You have so many to choose from: lentils, beans, peas and other types of beans!

8) Seeds

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Lots of people are talking about adding seeds into salads, yogurts, soups and honey… As well as being great for your health, cereals are a great source of tryptophan, the amnio acid which synthesises the sleep hormone.  Pumpkin seeds are particularly good however there are lots you can choose from including linseeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp, sesame or mustard seeds.

9) Decaffeinated green tea

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Coffee is not recommended to drink after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  As a result lots of people turn to green tea as an alternative.  However decaffeinated green tea can help to relax muscles and helps to soothe any anxiety that can take over you mind before you go to bed.

10) To compensate for your sugar urge

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In our previous article we mentioned sugar and chocolate as foods you should avoid during mealtimes if you want to get a good night’s sleep.  If you have an urge for some sugar you should instead choose fresh fruit as they contain fructose that is a sugar with a low glycemic index.

Sources : Cuisine AZ, Medisite ; Team de Nuit

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