Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul

Eat your way to a sleep better night’s

Struggling to nod off in the heat? Jaymie Hooper explains what to put on your plate


Between the heat and the humidity, forty winks can be hard to come by. But it’s not just the weather that’s preventing you from nodding off. According to Kate Save, dietitian and CEO of Be Fit Food, what you eat could also be to blame. “Diets that are high in refined carbohydra­tes, animal proteins and saturated fats but low in plant-based nutrients are associated with an increased risk of disturbed sleep,” she tells Body+Soul.

And while some foods can indeed sabotage your sleep, Save notes there are others that can actually set you up for a better night’s snooze. oze. Here are the key ones to try:


“Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in the natural sleep-wake cycle,” explains Save. “Research has shown melatoninr­ich foods may improve sleep efficiency.”

To get your fill, reach for eggs, fish, cherries, mushrooms, oats, legumes, seeds and nuts. Almonds contain both melatonin and magnesium – a mineral that is thought to promote sleep by reducing cortisol levels – which makes them the ideal pre-bedtime snack.


According to Save, fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, such as salmon, can help improve your levels of serotonin, which is another hormone that plays an important role in regulating your sleep and mood.


“Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production,” notes Save. “It can be found in milk, which is believed to improve sleep, and evidence suggests that malted milk in particular promotes a lessrestle­ss sleep.” If you’re not up for a nightcap, tryptophan can also be found in eggs, sweet potato, seeds such as chia and hemp, almonds and bananas.

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