Every one of us would like to believe that when we call it a day and our head hits the pillow, a sweet dream awaits us. In a world where our daily life moves faster than we can keep up with, getting sound sleep becomes a nightly struggle. For most of us there's a lot of tossing and turning and for some it is a mere fantasy. While the best advice that anyone would give you is to ease out, the importance of our diet is often overlooked.
According to Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath, "From an Ayurvedic perspective warm milk is the best remedy. Ideally one should have water at sunrise and milk at moonrise. Gastric discomfort is the most common cause of disrupted sleep and to avoid it one should opt for foods that are light and soothing. Foods like guava, asparagus and soups are preferred and medicinal plants like ashwagandha and bramhi work wonders in case of severe sleep disorders."
Here's a simple rule to catch more Zzzs - eat right to sleep tight. Load up on these foods that will leave you rested and restored.
1. Warm Milk
You may call it an old wives' tale but here's the science. Milk is a great sleep supporter. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid which converts into serotonin. Serotonin is known to induce calming effects in the brain. Lack of calcium is also one of the most common causes of disturbed sleep patterns, so get your fill.
Believe it or not a bowlful of cherries can send you off to sleep. Cherries are one of the few natural foods that contain melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is known to regulate your sleep and wake cycles and control the internal body clock.
Bananas can help bring a satisfying sleep because they contain magnesium and potassium - both of which are natural muscle-relaxants. They are also packed with the good carbs that make you feel sleepy. Sweet potato is another great source of sleep inducing carbohydrates.
Flaxseeds are a good source of omega-3 acids, magnesium and tryptophan. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant. Tryptophan helps in releasing serotonin, the pleasure hormone and omega 3 acids are known to reduce instances of anxiety and depression.
Instead of waking up to a handful of almonds, try sleeping over some. Just like bananas and flaxseeds, almonds are dense with magnesium that will help you catch more quality shut-eye. Besides this, they help in regulating your blood sugar levels while sleeping. Walnuts are great too as they contain tryptophan.
Experts recommend a tablespoon of honey for a good night's sleep. The natural sugars present in honey increase the insulin levels in our body and allow tryptophan to enter the brain which releases chemicals that relax the body. Your liver may run out of glycogen at night which may lead to the release of stress hormones. Consuming honey is great for storing glycogen.
"You should eat at least 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Besides this, a head massage or soaking your feet in hot water for a couple of minutes helps to relax the muscles and nerves," recommends Dr Ashutosh Gautam.