A sleep nutrition expert has warned of the impact a bad diet can have on someone’s ability to sleep when busy and dealing with a lot of stress.
A recent study by nutrition and food tracking app, MyFitnessPal, found 47 per cent of people reached for processed food, while 38 per cent preferred takeaway during stressful periods in their lives.
Sleep nutrition expert and author Olivia Arezzolo said reaching for comfort food when stressed was understandable, but there are certain things to forgo and certain snacks to include to make for a better night’s sleep.
“Sleep is intrinsically linked to the food we eat, so it’s not surprising to see that sleep is suffering the most during busy and stressful times, such as the holidays,” she said.
“While it’s unrealistic to expect that the majority of Australians will completely cut comforting foods off their diet, knowing which snacks to incorporate and eat more of, can make a significant difference in getting a good night’s rest.”
The data showed 60 per cent of Australians said their struggles sleeping were due to stress, with another 42 per cent stating that sleep was their number one priority when stressed.
So, what are the snacks to look at adding to your diet for a better night’s sleep according to Ms Arezzolo?
The first snack she said was Kiwi fruit.
“Fruit is not only a fantastic way to get your essential intake of vitamins and minerals, but eating certain fruits such as kiwis before bed may also help you get better sleep,” she said.
Ms Arezzolo said the bright green fruits are shown to have some sleep-inducing properties due to their natural richness in serotonin, which is a key neurotransmitter in our body that plays a large role in many sleep mechanisms.
She also said a Strawberry and banana smoothie would be great for a sweet treat before bed.
“Who doesn’t love a sweet treat before bedtime?” Ms Arezzolo said.
“ A fruit smoothie can do just the trick, while offering a healthier alternative to sugar-rich processed desserts.
“With bananas containing nutrients like potassium and magnesium, alongside the antioxidants and vitamin C found in strawberries, these two popular fruits are a great combination for a tasty and sleep-inducing smoothie.”
She said tinned tuna such as fatty fish, salmon and mackerel were great for helping with a good night’s rest.
“It is an incredible source of protein and an unexpected ally when trying to get better sleep,” Ms Arezzolo said.
“What makes them unique is their exceptional amounts of vitamin D and omega 3, which have the potential of enhancing sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin.”
Having almonds as a regular snack is associated with lowering the risks of chronic diseases but also improving sleep quality.
Ms Arezollo said it can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“This is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of the sleep regulating hormone melatonin,” she said.
Finally, she said sour cherry juice is key to having a restful sleep.
“Last but not least, tart cherries are one of the key foods to start including in daily diets when trying to get more restful sleep,” she said.
“Thanks to high levels of melatonin, drinking tart cherry juice increases melatonin availability in the body and can promote better sleep quality.”