3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart
5 Foods to Help You Sleep BetterNutrition
Having trouble catching the right amount of shut eye these days?
According to Statistics Canada, approximately half of the adult Canadian population reports sleep issues. While stress, young children, caffeine intake, and late nights working can impact our sleep, so can our food choices! Keep reading to learn more about the foods that can help you sleep better at night.
5 Foods to Help You Sleep
- Fermented foods. This can include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh. Fermented foods that are high in beneficial bacteria can help support your body’s production of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which can help anxiety at bay.
- Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium and tryptophan, which can help the body relax.
- Turkey. Turkey is another excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is important for our body’s production of melatonin. Another benefit is that protein before bed may help with your quality of sleep.
- Passionflower tea. Okay, so this isn’t technically a “food”, but I find it so helpful to get a solid night’s sleep and reduce the number of times clients (and myself) wake up through the night. This may also prove to be helpful if you’re dealing with a dose of jet lag!
- Whole grains. This includes foods like oats, buckwheat, barley, bulgar wheat, brown rice and quinoa. Including one portion of these at dinner can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Some extra tips:
- If falling asleep ails you, avoid caffeinated foods like chocolate and drinks like cola before bed.
- Exercise in the morning! Exercising in the evening can make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Turn off electronics and bright lights at least one hour before bed.
- Keep the phone out of the bedroom! While you might have your phone on silent, the light may impact your quality of sleep.
- Avoid alcohol before bed. While we may attribute a glass of wine (or three) to a better night’s sleep, it can actually disrupt our sleep cycles, leaving you more susceptible to waking in the middle of the night and not feeling refreshed the next day.
- If you have no trouble falling asleep, but struggle to stay asleep through the night, take inventory of what you consume before bed! There are two reasons staying asleep may be difficult:
- You’re eating too much, particularly carbohydrate-rich, food too close to bedtime. If it’s high in refined sugars, you may find it difficult to both fall and stay asleep at night. Have a dinner that’s rich in protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
- You need a pre-bed snack. While fasting a few hours can have many benefits, if you notice you’re waking up every night for no reason, try adding a small, low-carb snack before bed. This could be ¼ avocado with salt, a handful of nuts or a tbsp of nut butter, leftover protein from dinner or a hardboiled egg.
Find out more about how food can help you sleep from our holistic nutritionist.
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!