One in three of us suffers from poor sleep1, with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed, leading to bad moods and lack of focus the next day.

Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy1.

Sleep expert, Sammy Margo, reveals five foods we should try and eat before we fall asleep and five foods we should avoid to get the recommended 8 hours1 of good-quality sleep.

Five foods to eat before bed

1. Bananas
2. Honey
3. Almonds
4. Oats
5. Turkey

Five foods to avoid before bed

1. Alcohol
2. Spicy food
3. Fatty food
4. Coffee
5. Cheese

Bananas contain magnesium which relaxes your muscles as well as sleep promoting hormones, whereas cheese contains amino acids which make us feel alert and less tired.

Honey contains glucose which sends a message to the brain telling it to shut off orexin. Also known as hypocretin, orexin is the pesky chemical which regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite.

Almonds contain muscle-relaxant magnesium, which, along with tryptophan, helps to naturally reduce muscle and nerve function while also steadying your heart rhythm, says Margo.

Oats trigger insulin production, raising blood sugar naturally, but they are also, according to Margo, rich in melatonin, a hormon which promotes sleep.

Turkey contains tryptophan which induces sleep. That explains why we all feel like a nap after Sunday dinner!

 

If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, The Sleep Council have a few top tips to get you back on track to a restful nights sleep:

  • When it’s time for bed, make your room completely dark. This can be achieved with a blackout blind or curtains, an additional window dressing, or even an eye mask.
  • Maintain an ambient temperature in your room. If you’re too hot or too cold, you won’t sleep soundly. We recommend a cool temperature of around 16-18° C (60-65° F).
  • A tidy room makes for a tidy mind… and a restful night’s sleep! De-clutter your bedroom and create a space that’s clean, neat and simple. Even just relocating the laundry basket, stacking up some books or blitzing your bedside table can make a real difference.
  • Say no to technology in the bedroom! That means avoiding televisions and computers. Having access to these will urge you to switch on when you can’t drift off, which in turn can lead to even more disturbed sleep.
  • Avoid treating your bedroom like an extension of the rest of your house. That means you shouldn’t use it for work, watching TV, eating, and even talking on the phone. Save the bedroom for sleep and sex.
  • Add special touches to the space, which will help you feel more connected and peaceful. Family photographs, plants, flowers and ornaments will help to create a room that’s pleasant and relaxing.
  • Avoid using certain colours when decorating. Remember that bright reds, yellows and oranges are jarring, while browns and whites are boring and drab. Instead, choose soft, muted tones that will make you feel calm.
  • Take the time to really consider your bedroom. Realise that you have a duty of care to yourself, and should therefore create a sleep area that’s as effective as possible. Boost your wellbeing by making your bedroom more sleep-friendly – you’re worth it! For more information, on how to create the perfect sleep environment, click here!