It has been reported that 51.3% of Brits struggle to drift off at night. Sleep deprivation can drastically affect quality of life, and can often be the result of stress, anxiety and even a poor diet. With this being said, here are 10 bedtime rituals to boost the quality of your sleep:
1. Consume a bed time snack rich in tryptophan
Tryptophan is part of a protein molecule, and is the precursor to our sleep hormone melatonin. Consumption of foods rich in tryptophan such as yoghurt, nuts and seeds may boost melatonin production as well as quality of sleep. By combining 30g of carbohydrate to your snack you can boost tryptophan absorption and utilisation drastically.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
There are abundance of studies to prove the stress reducing and sleep inducing impacts of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, which can help reduce overthinking as well as future or past worries. If you’re mind races before bed, then 10 minutes of mindfulness could be just what you need to provide a sense of calmness.
3. Drink a small glass of tart cherry juice before bed
Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Research has shown that consumption of tart cherry juice twice daily can significantly increase total sleep time and sleep efficiency.
Although these results are promising, larger trials are necessary to confirm the role of tart cherry juice in relation to improving sleep and preventing insomnia. Nevertheless, this tasty juice can provide a potential alternative to traditional melatonin supplementation in the form of a functional food.
4. Eat 2 kiwi a day
Kiwi fruit are rich in our happy neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is the precursor to our sleep hormone melatonin. One study has shown that eating 2 kiwi per day, an hour before bed for 1 month can significantly improve total sleep time and sleep quality. The mechanism for their sleep inducing properties is yet to be explained, however it is thought that it could be down to their rich content of folate and serotonin.
5. Invest in essential oils like lavender
What we breathe can affect how we sleep. Lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, whilst inducing a more relaxed state. Incorporate lavender oils, candles or pillow sprays in your relaxing bedtime routine.
6. Have a magnesium bath
Magnesium is a calming mineral and has been dubbed as ‘natures tranquiliser’. There is some evidence to suggest that supplemental magnesium may help to help to improve sleep quality in elderly insomniacs who tend to have relatively low magnesium intakes. However if we’re no deficient in magnesium in the first place, more may not always translate into a better nights sleep.
Magnesium is effectively absorbed trans dermally; making baths a relaxing way to increase our intake.
By leading London Nutritionist, Lily Soutter BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT