Foods for sleep: what to eat to rest well

Difficulty falling asleep at night, restless and fragmented sleep during the night, tendency to wake up very early in the morning: these are all signs that we do not sleep well. A frequent disorder, which for one in four Italians takes the form of a real pathology, insomnia, but which in any case, even if sporadic, compromises mood, quality of life and health. Are there foods to sleep better? Yes of course. Thanks to a series of nutrients that help us relax, some foods are able to induce sleep. Similarly there are “nightmare” foods, which if eaten in the evening have a high probability of giving us a sleepless night. Let’s find out why a regenerating sleep is a very important ally of our health and well-being, what to eat e what to avoid to sleep well.

Because sleeping little and badly hurts

Stress, anxiety, worries, health problems such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome: there are many reasons that can make us sleep badly. A problem that is not only annoying, because during the day it makes us feel tired, in a bad mood, not very clear-headed and concentrated, but which also has a negative impact on our health: many studies have associated a bad sleep to a increased risk of cardiometabolic diseasescome diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems e obesitye of neurological pathologies come dementia, Alzheimer and disease of Parkinson.
What to do, then, to rest better? In addition to investigating the causes of sleep disorders with specialist checks and intervening with the right therapy, help can come from nutrition. In fact, some foods, thanks to the nutrients they contain, have a relaxing effect and can help us sleep better.

The best foods for sleep

Among the best foods for sleep are those rich in magnesiuma mineral salt that promotes relaxation and counteracts nervousness and irritability, by tryptophanan amino acid that our body uses to produce serotoninthe so-called hormone of well-being and good mood, and of melatoninwhich is defined as the sleep hormone due to the role it plays in sleep physiology and in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.
They are also very important foods rich in B vitaminsespecially of B3 and B6essential to ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system and to counteract anxiety, thus promoting good rest.

Let’s see, then, in which foods we can find these precious substances to ensure a regenerating and quality sleep.

  • Rice: this cereal is a good source of tryptophan, so bringing it to the table, especially in the evening, is ideal for reconciling sleep. It is also a very digestible food, which protects us from the negative effects on sleep of a too heavy meal. Our artichoke risotto with lemon it is a nutritious but light dish perfect to eat for dinner to sleep better.
  • Avena: rich in melatonin, oats are also a cereal that can help you rest well. In grains it is excellent for enriching soups, in flakes it is perfect to be enjoyed at breakfast or as a snack, for example to add to yogurt or, if you like English breakfast, to prepare porridge.
  • Milk and dairy products: milk and dairy products, such as ricotta and unseasoned cheeses, are very rich in tryptophan, therefore excellent allies to help rest. It is no coincidence that one of the most famous grandmother’s tips for sleeping well is to drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed.
  • Green leafy vegetablesSpinach and chard are excellent sources of both magnesium and B vitamins, so they are doubly useful for promoting mental and muscular relaxation and helping us sleep well. Better to eat them raw or steamed, because the B vitamins are water soluble, i.e. they dissolve in water, so boiling would damage them. Try ours spinach, grapefruit and olive salad.
  • Dried fruit: hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds are very rich in magnesium and tryptophan, so they can help ensure quality sleep.
  • Beans: these legumes, especially the dried ones, are excellent relaxing foods for sleeping because they are very rich in vitamin B3, as well as having a good magnesium content.
  • Blue fish: il blue fish like sardines, mackerel and anchovies, it has a good content of tryptophan and vitamin B6, which makes it a tasty natural ally for sleep.
  • Semi: like dried fruit, some seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame and flax seeds, are also rich in tryptophan and magnesium. Add them to soups and salads, use them to enrich homemade bread with taste and energy or blend them with a little breadcrumbs: they will be a delicious breading for meat and fish.
  • Banana: Bananas are an excellent source of both melatonin and magnesium, so eating them before bed can help us relax, promote sleep and reduce sleep disturbances. An idea? A nice banana and almond smoothiewhich thanks to the combination with dried fruit is even more effective.
  • Pineapple: pineapple is also a fruit rich in melatonin. It also contains a lot of water (almost 90 g per 100 g), another aspect that makes it indirectly useful for good sleep, because it helps counteract dehydration which can cause malaise, anxiety, cramps and hinder rest.
  • Kiwi: this fruit contains many substances useful against sleep disorders, in particular serotonin. One chinese study suggests that eating two kiwifruit an hour before bed may shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep duration and quality.

Foods to avoid for good sleep

In addition to bringing sleep-inducing foods to the table, to sleep well it’s also important to avoid those that could hinder it.
Is useful reduce salt consumptionthe excess of which is also harmful to health, especially that of the heart: you can replace it with spices and aromatic herbs, which help you flavor dishes without risking making your nights more restless.
Also exciting foods and drinks should be consumed in moderation or avoided, especially at dinner: this is the case with chocolate, land e coffee.
Not even ad spirits e spirits before going to bed. Finally, to sleep well is good don’t eat too big a dinner e do not abuse very fat or very caloric foodswhich could make the digestion more difficult and, therefore, prevent you from sleeping well.

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