If during the day we eat many foods high in fat and low in fibres, the sleep of the next night is agitated and of poor quality. The reason? Slow digestion and a sense of heaviness. But if we focus on the right foods, we can stop that from happening and even improve the quality of rest. Let’s find out together what are the best foods to help sleeping better and why they work.
The importance of sleep
Sleep is that period of rest during which the conscious moment of waking is suspended and we enter into a particular psycho-physical state given by the suspension of will and consciousness. It is an indispensable process, a complex phenomenon that occupies about a third of our existence, necessary for physical recovery and mental well-being. The need to sleep is higher in childhood and is reduced as we grow: during adolescence we need to sleep about 10 hours a night, while in adulthood 7-8 hours of sleep are enough to wake up rested. In general, each person has their own subjective need for sleep.
Nutrition against insomnia: foods to help you sleep
Nutrition plays a decisive role in the dynamics of sleep, there are a lot of foods that help sleeping better, in fact the metabolism of food ingested, the quantity and quality of proteins and trace elements absorbed are closely linked to the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and adrenaline, which are the protagonists of our being calm or anxious.
Some people often fall asleep in the evening without too much difficulty, but then they wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, or very early in the morning and they are not able to sleep again. In these cases, we are dealing with insomnia, a disorder that makes us perceive sleep as light and of poor quality. The causes of insomnia are many and to mention some of the most common:
-psychological stress, anxiety and depression disorders;
- seasonal changes;
-shift work involving a change in the sleep-wake cycle;
-organic disorders of various kinds, such as joint or muscle pain.
It’s important to follow certain behavioural norms and follow specific nutritional advice, aimed both at changing those eating habits that can worsen insomnia and at introducing foods that help sleeping better and provide beneficial nutrients for the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, it is advisable to:
-avoid consuming abundant meals during the evening hours by eating a light meal at dinner;
-avoid consuming in the evening foods that require very long digestion times, such as foods rich in fat;
-prefer foods rich in calcium, magnesium and B vitamins because these micronutrients promote relaxation of the body;
-choose foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle;
-prefer simple cooking methods without adding fat: steaming, ferring, grilling, baking, baking, etc.
What foods help you sleep
There are anti-insomnia foods that can help you combat sleep disorders. But why? Because they stimulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Produced by a small gland present in the brain (pineal gland or epiphysis), melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm, that is the sleep-wake cycle of the organism. As a result, the production of this hormone has a peak at night and very low values during the day.
In addition to melatonin, a diet rich in plant fibres, for example, helps to lengthen the duration of the deep sleep phase. But vitamins, water, which helps you not to dehydrate, and minerals are also important. Foods reach in magnesium are essential, because it helps to ease tensions, promotes relaxation and fights irritability, tryptophan, the amino acid necessary to produce serotonin, the hormone of well-being and good mood, and vitamins of group B, such as B3 (niacin) and B6, essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, which promotes rest, countering anxiety and depression.
But what are the best foods that help you sleep well?
-Bread, pasta, rice, barley, spelt, oats and other types of complex carbohydrates, giving priority to wholemeal carbohydrates for their magnesium intake;
-Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, broad beans, soya beans, etc. If combined with cereals (e.g. pasta and beans, pasta and chickpeas, rice and bisi, etc.) you can get tasty and functional unique dishes;
-Fish, preferring bluefish (e.g. sardines, anchovies or anchovies, mackerel, herring, etc.) and salmon because they are very rich in unsaturated fats such as omega-3.
-Dried nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc. as it is rich in tryptophan.
-Fresh fruit such as bananas, cherries and grapes, without exaggerating the quantity.
-Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, lettuce, asparagus, etc. To maintain a good concentration of tryptophan it is advisable to consume raw or steamed vegetables for as little time as possible.
-Relaxing herbal teas to drink warm or even fresh and preferably without added sugar.
Some ProLon® advice
Here there are some practical tips to be able to sleep better at night:
-Try to lie down and get up at the same time more or less;
-Avoid physically demanding activities in the evening hours, such as doing sports, reading a difficult book, studying or working, because these activities keep the mind too active, thus preventing the phase of pre-sleep relaxation;
-Avoid using smartphones, tablets, PC and other electronic devices especially when you are in bed, because they disturb sleep in quality and durability. In addition, the light emitted by the screen can inhibit the release of melatonin and thus make it more difficult to fall asleep;
-Darken the bedroom as much as possible, turn off any lights and avoid keeping on electronic devices because electromagnetic waves disturb sleep;
-Quit smoking. Nicotine is an exciting and harmful substance;
-Avoid sleeping during the day, for example taking a nap after lunch.
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