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The best foods to help you sleep better

Posted by Dr Sleep for Moon Mattress on


In our rush, we too often put sleep on the back burner. As a busy mum myself, I can understand why people forgo sleep to get things done.

But it is the wrong approach. Sleep has a huge effect on how you feel throughout the day, and nutrition plays a role in how well you sleep. 

Food relates directly to serotonin, a key hormone that helps promote healthy sleep. Try to consume foods that calm the body, increase serotonin levels and get you ready for restful sleep.

Here are a few foods to get you started on the path to slumber.

Complex carbohydrates. Embrace whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, and brown rice. Avoid simple carbohydrates, including breads, pasta, and sweets such as biscuits, cakes, and other sugary foods. These tend to reduce serotonin levels and do not promote sleep.

Lean proteins. Lean proteins include low-fat cheese, chicken, turkey, and fish. These foods are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which tends to increase serotonin levels. Avoid high-fat cheeses, chicken wings or deep-fried fish. These take longer to digest and can keep you awake.

Heart-Healthy Fats. Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels. Examples include nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios. Avoid foods with saturated and trans fats, such as chips, potato chips or other high-fat snack foods. These bring your serotonin levels down.

Beverages. Certain drinks can promote or prevent sleep. A good, soothing beverage to drink before bedtime would be warm milk or herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint. Caffeine can affect people differently, I recommend that anyone who has difficulty sleeping consume that last cup by 2 p.m. Even the smallest amount of stimulant can keep you awake.

Fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can have a calming effect on the body. For example, sage and basil contain chemicals that reduce tension and promote sleep. Try making your own homemade pasta sauce with sage and basil. However, avoid herbs such as red pepper or black pepper at night, as they have a stimulatory effect.


Try all these foods to reduce your tossing and turning when you hit the pillow. Sweet dreams!


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