The best foods to eat for a good night’s sleep
Sleep has become widely recognised as playing a really important role in our overall health and wellness – alongside diet, stress management and exercise.
Recently, researchers have been learning more about how poor sleep influences our dietary choices, as well as how diet influences sleep quality. Not sleeping for long enough or poor quality sleep are associated with increased food intake, a less healthy diet and weight gain. Lack of sleep also leads to increased snacking and overeating. And it causes us to want to eat foods high in fat and carbohydrates – with increased chemical rewards to the brain when we do eat these foods.
Essentially, poor sleep drives your body to find high energy foods to keep you awake which makes fighting the cravings for unhealthy foods very difficult to resist. But, on the other hand, when we have slept well our appetite hormones are at a normal level. We don’t crave unhealthy food so much – and we can make better choices about what to eat.
The science of sleep
All cultures around the world have traditions about which foods promote sleep. Foods such as milk, chamomile, kiwi fruit and tart cherries, have all been said to work wonders for a good night’s sleep. Given how much the food we eat affects us on a day-to-day basis, it is not surprising that our diet plays such a big role in our quality of sleep. What we eat also has a big impact on our organ function, immune system, hormone production and brain function.