We’re all chasing that elusive eight to ten hours of sleep a night, aren’t we? Between family and work life, sometimes it can be tough to come by. But, have you ever stopped to think about how the food you eat, or even what you’re hydrating yourself with, is impacting your ability to catch those z’s? The science is clear: we literally are what we eat, and what we put into our body directly affects all of the body’s mechanisms – including the ability to achieve deep and restorative sleep. If you’re struggling in this area, keep reading how you can incorporate your love for food and cooking into gaining better, more restful sleep.
So you may have already seen this trend on TikTok, but there is some natural science behind it. Apparently, steeping lettuce leaves in water, the same way you would a tea bag, can send you off to la-la land pretty quickly. Romaine tea is the variety that will give you the most sleep-inducing effects, and it works fast. So, make sure you’ve tucked your family in for the night before you drink your lettuce tea. The taste may leave something to be desired – but you’ll get your much sought-after sleep, not to mention some healthy antioxidant effects as well.
Sleep Support Edibles
While you could go the CBD route, not everyone is comfortable with that. There are plenty of other tasty sleep essentials bites to choose from. Most of these are sweet and even make a delightful, somewhat decadent bedtime snack too. Pair one of these with a calming cup of chamomile, and you’re good to go.
Speaking of chamomile, tea has long been used to help people fall asleep easier and sleep soundly. Other varieties of tea that will achieve the same effect as chamomile are lavender, valerian root (if you haven’t had valerian before, be prepared for its pungent smell). You can never go wrong with the “Sleepytime” blend tea. And don’t forget to add some honey to that tea too! The glucose in honey lowers orexin levels; orexin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you more alert. Honey will put that alertness in reverse.
Poultry Packs a Punch
We all know that feeling after a large Thanksgiving turkey dinner where you want to take a nap – a lot of people even do! Well, that’s due to the tryptophans in the turkey. The good news is, tryptophans aren’t just found in turkey, which can be a bit of an undertaking to prepare. You can also get that same sleepy feeling from chicken, a staple at most dinner tables worldwide. So, if you’re not getting enough sleep or poultry in your life, consider adding it to your menu a few nights a week, and you should be sleeping like a baby in no time!
Vegans Need Sleep Too!
Say you’re living a plant-based diet and eating poultry isn’t a possibility for you, but you’d like to make the sleep induction happen through the food you’re consuming. Enter nuts! Nuts are a healthy and significant part of eating plant-based. They’re used in everything from the base of dressings to the “milk” you’re drinking and as garnishes in salads. Nuts help with sleeping problems by boosting magnesium (which has a calming effect) but also contain tryptophans. The most nuts that will help with sleep are walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. So, go nuts!
Go With Your Gut
Yogurt is another helpful aid when it comes to sleeping better. But, an even bigger bonus is its benefits on your gut health. We all know that the gut is considered our body’s second brain, so anything we can do to boost gut health through what we eat (or taking pre and probiotics) is incredible. Yogurt helps with sleep because the calcium in the yogurt helps process the hormones that induce sleepiness – melatonin and tryptophan. If you don’t like yogurt, you can get the same effect through any dairy product, so maybe cheese and crackers are a better bedtime snack, in your opinion.
Hopefully, you don’t struggle with getting quality sleep often; if you do, you may want to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying issues that could be affecting the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting. But, if you’re just an everyday foodie who deals with sleeplessness occasionally, incorporating these into your diet will do you a world of good. Sweet dreams!