How many times did you hear that a good night’s sleep is important to support good health? For many people, however, getting a restorative time of rest is not an easy task. During this COVID-19 pandemic, with the routine ripped off, it can be much more difficult. Even if they go to bed early, they struggle to relax. If you are on this road, put effort into changing it. The lack of sleep can have repercussions for both your mental and physical health - and this is the last thing you need right now.
While we sleep at night, cell repairing and digestion keep happening. All the nutrients we had throughout the day play a role in our health. During those hours of sleep, especially deep sleep, our bodies restore energy levels and release hormones, such as the growth hormone, essential for the development of bones and muscles. Sleep is so important that we spend 30% of our life asleep.
What nutrients and foods can help you sleep
Increase your intake of tryptophan-rich foods. Tryptophan is an amino acid necessary to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for the sensation of pleasure and well-being, essential to induce the natural sleep cycle. Good sources of tryptophan are salmon, eggs, dairy, nuts, chickpeas, beans, bananas. Try to eat some of these foods every day to get the recommended amount of tryptophan.
Good sources of fiber are chicory, raw garlic, leeks, and onions. You can still bet on seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin) and lots of green leaves. Fiber feeds the good bacteria that live in our intestines, forming our intestinal flora. A healthy gut also assists in the production of serotonin.
Add lentils and artichokes to your meals. These options are rich in folate, an essential vitamin from the B complex family, which supports a good night's sleep. These foods are sources of tryptophan, too.
What to avoid before bed
Caffeinated foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, and chocolates make it harder to fall asleep and can cause disrupted sleep throughout the night. Consume them only until 4 pm to give your body time to work with caffeine and relax before you go to bed.
Avoid alcoholic beverages at night and reduce alcohol consumption throughout the day. Although it seems relaxing, after a few hours, alcohol acts as a stimulant, decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night.
Lifestyle for better sleep
Create a routine to relax before bed, which includes avoiding stressful activities like working late or discussing emotional problems. Take advantage of the light to relax, creating a dark environment before sleeping, and letting natural daylight through the window at dawn. You can use your biological clock to help, too. On weekends, go to bed and wake up at about the same time, keeping your sleep routine as much as possible.