In our world of go-go-go, moving is easy to do. Just ask any coffee drinker. Society has a harder time with slowing down and even stopping altogether. Falling asleep isn't as easy as closing our eyes and counting to ten. In fact, the number of UK citizens who have trouble sleeping has risen from year to year, and in London there was an increase of 37% in sleep-deprived individuals from 2013 to 2014, according to a report called Rough Sleeping Statistics England.
Luckily, there are a few things that can be done during the day that will help us at night. Even the food we eat can assist in improving our quality of shut-eye. Here are 9 different food items that can help the sleep-deprived correct their night-time routines.
This one may come across as a surprise to many people, but jasmine rice has a high glycemic index or GI, which signals the body to produce insulin. Normally, high GI food items are used to produce energy, especially after exercise. Jasmine rice, however, also increases the levels of tryptophan, an amino acid obtained from food. With the help of carbohydrates, tryptophan produces serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin, a chemical in the body responsible for relaxation and sleep.
Salmon and tuna may become the next best friends to anyone needing zzz's. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can also aid in melatonin production.
These fruits are not only beneficial for cardiovascular health, due to high potassium. Now we know that they also contain tryptophan and can, therefore, be a good snack to eat in the evenings.
More post-dinner dessert items that should be added to our diets are cherries. Two ways to get the most of this fruit include drinking the concentrated juice or eating them fresh. Either way, cherries are full of melatonin and will help for a good night's rest.
Try making walnut-packed protein bites or add walnuts to your midnight snack for a boost of melatonin-producing tryptophan!
Grandma knew what she was talking about when she said that warm milk with honey will prepare the body for sleep. In addition to warming you up from the inside out, honey helps the body raise insulin levels and, therefore, increases the body's ability to absorb tryptophan. Also, the calcium in milk works to help the brain make melatonin out of the tryptophan.
Spinach, dark lettuce, kale and collards are a few greens that are jam-packed with tryptophan-converting calcium.
A concoction of camomile herbal tea will relax the nerves. It has been used for centuries as an anti-anxiety remedy. Biologically-speaking, camomile contains glycine, which has been proven to slow nerve impulses. Using camomile tea to soothe an upset stomach won't hurt when easing you into sleep either.
I'm sure we don't need it, but why not have another reason to eat dark chocolate? This tasty morsel contains snooze-worthy serotonin, a neurotransmitter that relaxes the body and mind.
Many of these food items can be consumed on their own, but a better option is to combine them! Fruit and vegetable smoothies are a great way to get more bang for your buck!