Good nutrition is essential for a healthy and balanced life, which is why it also plays an important role in sleep. If you have difficulties falling asleep or you constantly wake up during the night, there are numerous foods that can help reduce the effects of these problems.
The key substances
There are a handful of hormones and nutrients that are very important to regulate sleep:
- Tryptophan It is an essential amino acid, that is, we cannot produce it ourselves, but rather it is only obtained through food.
- Serotonin (also known as "the happiness hormone") is a hormone that is obtained with tryptophan that in addition to regulating many processes such as digestion, mood or even sexual function, it also regulates sleep behavior.
- Our friend: melatonin. This well-known hormone is what causes and regulates the feeling of sleep, and derives at the same time of serotonin.
Apart from these three substances, carbohydrates, vitamin D, magnesium and fatty acids omega 3 are also very important.
Important foods ... Why?
As we have just said, it is essential that our diet contains the aforementioned, but thus, speaking of hormones, it is not very clear what to eat. We put you examples of foods rich in these nutrients:
- Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, are a very good source of melatonin, omega 3 (which also increases serotonin production) and magnesium, which helps reduce cortisol levels (a hormone that produces stress and makes it difficult to fall asleep).
- Dairy products, As cheese and milk, have a lot of tryptophan, which, as we already know, is a precursor to melatonin and will help you to get a great sleep.
- Fruits (especially pineapple, bananas, cherries and kiwis) contain high levels of tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium. In addition, kiwi also helps in the production of serotonin and is rich in vitamin C.
- Cereals and seeds provide all nutrients mentioned above, in addition to protein, calcium and healthy fats that make them healthy for all the functions of the organism. Some cereals are rice and oatmeal (if they are whole, better still) and seeds like sesame and chia.
- Most of omega 3 and vitamin D is in fatty fish, as tuna, trout, salmon or anchovies, although vitamin D can also be obtained through Sun exposure.
- And finally, infusions as valerian, chamomile or lime blossom tea, can also cause relax and wanting to go to bed.
It is also important to remember that these foods should be incorporated into your diet throughout the day: at night it is better to avoid large dinners. The best is to have a light dinner around 2-3 hours before going to sleep.