Eat Right to Sleep Tight
Good sleep is necessary to have a productive day. In order to sleep soundly, your metabolism must switch from day to night.
This works well if you give your body the “right” food and nutrients during the day and in the evening before bedtime.
When asleep the brain goes through phases, the deep sleep phase and REM or rapid eye movement phase.
During the REM phases, the brain processes the special experiences of the day and forms innumerable new nerve connections (synapses) in the brain.
The flat REM phases are the more or less realistic dreams you experience. Special experiences and new knowledge learned are stored in the brain in the long-term memory. They are present in your consciousness the next morning and let you start the new day full of energy.
In contrast, sleep aided by sleep pills or lots of alcohol has an anesthetic effect and causes sluggishness the next day.
A key player for natural induced sleep is the pea-sized pineal gland in the brain. At night, it produces the night-time hormone melatonin.
Melatonin triggers the production of the daily hormone serotonin. It is also known as a pick-me-up and happiness hormone.
If the pineal gland no longer receives light pulses from a few fibers of the optic nerve and thinks that it is time to sleep, it simply converts serotonin into melatonin in the brain, and then begins a restful sleep.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, boosts melatonin production. It is first converted into the daily hormone serotonin, then ingested in the same breath by the pineal gland and converted into melatonin.
There are many herbal snacks and foods that contain high levels of tryptophan. Here is some food you can indulge in at night to get that good night’s sleep:
Pistachios – A handful of pistachio kernels at bedtime provides an increase in the brain’s hormone levels, gently letting you fall into the realm of dreams because it is high in melatonin.
Walnuts – a handful of these can boost the levels of the natural sedative melatonin.
Cherries – are also rich in melatonin. Regular drinking of cherry juice can help insomniacs regularize their sleeping habits.
Avocados – they are rich in vitamin B6 which helps tryptophan be converted into melatonin.
More Tips for Better Sleep
There are many foods that can help you get your nightly rest. Basically, a change in diet will make a huge impact. Take note of these tips to help you achieve a good night’s sleep:
- Make sure to eat early in the evening, at least two hours before going to bed.
- Avoid high-fat and hard-to-digest foods before bed.
- Avoid high alcohol intake. Alcohol affects the REM phases and leads to poor and unhealthy sleep.