Sleep loss can have an overwhelming impact on your life by chipping away at your psychological and physical wellbeing. In addition to experiencing an irritable mood, the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep can send your blood sugar levels and blood pressure soaring. These mechanisms act a precursor to heart disease so sleep loss poses a grave threat to your health.
Fortunately, you can keep the risks at bay and remedy sleep loss without making sweeping changes to your lifestyle.
Adding certain foods to your diet is a simple and practical way to restore you sleep-cycle back to normal levels.
Evidence suggests one of the stand-out foods is kiwifruit.
According to studies investigating the fruit’s potential to improve sleep quality, it is one of the best foods to eat before bed.
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How to sleep: Kiwifruit has been shown to have a significant impact on sleep quality
In a four-week study, 24 adults consumed two kiwifruits one hour before going to bed each night.
At the end of the study, participants fell asleep 42 percent more quickly than when they didn’t eat anything before bedtime.
Additionally, their ability to sleep through the night without waking improved by five percent, while their total sleep time increased by 13 percent.
The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are thought to be due to their content of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle.
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It has also been suggested that the antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.
Other sleep aids
Snacking on a banana before bed may also promote sleep because the fruit contains potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan, nutrients that kickstart the sleep-cycle.
Magnesium and potassium have been linked to better sleep quality and length due to their muscle-relaxing properties.
How to sleep: Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan, minerals that induce sleep
Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s important for producing the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin.
Other ways to promote sleep
A simple self-help tip to send you off to sleep is make your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment.
Experts claim there’s a strong association in people’s minds between sleep and the bedroom.
“However, certain things weaken that association, such as TVs and other electronic gadgets, light, noise, and a bad mattress or bed,” explains the NHS.
To overcome the problem, the NHS recommends keeping your bedroom just for sleep and sex (or masturbation).
As the health site explains: “Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. This has evolved in humans over thousands of years.”
Additionally, your bedroom ideally needs to be dark, quiet, tidy and be kept at a temperature of between 18C and 24C, notes the health site.
“Fit some thick curtains if you do not have any. If you’re disturbed by noise, consider investing in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, use earplugs,” it adds.