Everyone deserves a good night's sleep. It is our body’s time to recuperate from a busy day. Adequate sleep has a lot of benefits, such as lowering the risks of serious diseases particularly cardiovascular issues and hypertension.
Additionally, having enough sleep can help us think more clearly in the morning, reduce stress, improve metabolism, and helps us maintain a healthy weight.
Other factors include the quality of the mattress we use, the amount of light in the bedroom, our caffeine intake, and the food we eat. Our dietary choices can help us fall and stay asleep just as much as letting us wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy in the morning.
What exactly makes us sleep? Here are 6 influences that we’ve highlighted to give you a detailed insight about how your sleep can be improved:
Melatonin plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep cycles. It is a hormone produced by the pineal gland located at the center of our brain. This hormone induces physiological changes such as respiration rate, and body temperature, which in turn, promote sleep. The production of this hormone is influenced by the amount of light the retina in our eyes detect. This explains why we stay awake in the morning and feel drowsy at night.
Over-the-counter medications and supplements can boost the production of Melatonin in our brain, which can help with people having a hard time sleeping. But if you want to avoid some of the side-effects that come with these medications, working on your diet is one primary way.
Most people may already know that calcium-rich foods help in the production of melatonin. Not only is it fantastic for your bones, but a calcium-rich diet can aid people experiencing insomnia. Dairy products are among the top foods that can induce sleep since it is rich in both calcium and tryptophan, which is an amino acid that can be turned into melatonin. People are sometimes advised to drink milk before sleeping to help boost their calcium intake.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in dairy products, poultry, nuts, seeds, and certain seafood such as salmon or tuna. When absorbed by the body, this amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and then is converted to melatonin. It is also found in most protein-rich foods. Egg Whites and soybeans are popular sources of tryptophan. If you’re lactose intolerant, soy milk is a great alternative to dairy milk as it is rich in both calcium and tryptophan.
Vitamin B6 helps in the conversion of tryptophan to melatonin. Vitamin B6 also improves the mood and helps in boosting the levels of serotonin. A lack of Vitamin B6 can cause insomnia and depression.
Anxiety can keep you up at night and a way of easing it is by consuming vitamin B6 rich foods. Not only does this vitamin help relieve anxiety, it can also help reduce the irritability women have during their menstrual period. The best sources of vitamin B include; banana, avocado, spinach, and pistachio nuts.
Often referred to as the sleep mineral, magnesium is a natural relaxant and is instrumental in helping us stay asleep. Magnesium calms our nervous system by regulating neurotransmitters which send signals throughout the nervous system. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of magnesium.
If you want to improve your sleep and increase your melatonin levels naturally, together with a high-quality mattress, a little change in your diet can go a long way.