Having a sleep-friendly night usually requires the following: a good, soft pillow and a dark (or at least dimly lit) room with cool enough temperature. However, even with these set, there are other factors that can make or break your sleep improving efforts, especially if you are living in cities such as Dubai, the residents of which are found by many studies to have difficulty getting the zzzs. (In fact, one study featured in the Wall Street Journal found it to be among the list of cities with the least hours of sleep.) These factors include the food you eat every day. With this in mind, Gulf News has shared the following nutrient-rich foods that you should eat more of for better sleep:
Packed with more vitamin C than oranges, just one or two medium-sized kiwis can help you go to sleep faster and longer at night. These fruits are rich in serotonin and antioxidants. Both of these chemicals help improve your sleep quality.
Almonds have high doses of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Consuming just 33 grams of almonds gives you enough magnesium and calcium to relax your muscles while helping you sleep.
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna also help you sleep because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which regulate the sleep-regulating hormone serotonin. They also contain the “sunshine vitamin” (vitamin D), another sleep-aiding nutrient.
Herbal teas in general have calming effects on people. Chamomile tea, in particular, is seen as a mild sedative and sleep-inducer. Its immensely calming effects are due to a chemical called apigenin, which decreases anxiety and makes you very sleepy.
Figs are loaded with sleep-aiding magnesium. All this is due to the amount of fiber present in the fruit, which keeps you full, curbing any craving at night.
The complex carbohydrates present in sweet potatoes help you feel comfortably full. In addition, sweet potatoes themselves also have a lot of potassium, a mineral that relaxes the muscles.
Turkey is reputed to make those celebrating Thanksgiving both lethargic and tired. All this is because of a nutrient called tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you very sleepy. (Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle-building protein.)
Bananas are certainly high in sugar — not a good thing if you are conscious of your blood sugar levels. However, they are also loaded with beneficial nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6, which all work together to make you fall asleep quickly while keeping anxiety at bay.
Around 30 grams of pistachios are just what you need to help you fall asleep. Like bananas, these nuts are loaded with nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6 and magnesium, which all contribute to better sleep quality.
Cottage cheese contains the same sleep-aiding nutrient found in turkey: the amino acid tryptophan.