If you’re having trouble sleeping, then along with swotting up on your sleep hygiene, you should think about what foods you’re snaffling before bedtime.
Tucking into a box of chocolates in front of the TV, feasting on a spicy late-night curry, or slurping a twilight coffee, are all likely to put the brakes on your trip to Slumber Land, so here we look at the five best foods to help you sleep.
Bananas and cherries before bed
Delicious fresh fruits, what’s not to love? Fatty snacks are never a good idea, but before bed, they can stimulate stomach acids and bring on sleep stalling heartburn, so pile a bowl high with a health boosting fruit salad instead.
Cherries are one of the few foods to contain melatonin, which regulates the internal body clock, while bananas add a totally tropical taste, plus a hefty dose of magnesium and potassium, which are natural muscle relaxants.
Herbal tea to help you drift off
An after-dinner cappuccino might seem all sophisticated and continental but unless you fancy a night anxiously staring at the ceiling, you’ll probably want to give it a miss.
Instead opt for a soothing Valerian tea, which is said to speed up the onset of sleep, or try one of your favourite herbal teas, such as peppermint. While the properties of the tea might not specifically speed up sleepiness, this soothing night time ritual can help you feel lovely and drowsy.
Sweet potato for sweet sleep
A true hero among potatoes, the humble sweet potato provides complex carbohydrates and potassium, perfect for helping you to nod off, and delicious in a vegetarian quinoa chili – that's dinner sorted then.
Turkey to help you sleep at night
You know how you find yourself falling asleep in front of the TV after Christmas dinner? Well, that could be the turkey that you scoffed, (and maybe all the bubbles that you quaffed…).
Loaded with tryptophan, a chemical that can make you feel sleepy, turkey is also lower in fat than other sources of meaty protein.
Snack on cereal before bed
Be sure to keep your bedtime snacks light, ideally below 300 calories, and aim for sleep supporting complex carbohydrates, such as a bowl of fortified cereal or a whole-wheat cracker with a light spreading of nut butter.
And if you're not quite ready for wintry soups & stews why not try our favourite simple, yet delicious, Warm Autumn Salad and bring a little bit of summer to your Autumn.
Warm Autumn Salad
For the salad:
- 1 Large Butternut Squash
- 2 Crunchy Apples
- 2 Celery Stalks
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 150g Cornish Blue Cheese or Feta
- 80g Hazelnuts
- Handful of Mixed Leaves
- Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
For The Dressing:
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Tablespoon Vinegar (Sherry, Red Or Apple Cider)
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
- Wash the squash, remove the seeds but do not peel. Cut into 2-3cm chunks.
- Peel the red omion and chop into large chunks.
- Place both on a baking tray, season with salt & pepper and drizzle with Olive Oil.
- Roast for 50 minutes until soft and a little coloured.
- Make the dressing by combining all ingredients and whisking until combined.
- Wash and core the apples. Slice the apples and celery thinly and crush the hazelnuts.
- Combine the squash, apples, celery and mixed leaves.
- Spoon onto a platter then sprinkle with the cheese and hazelnuts.
- Finally drizzle with the dressing, serve warm and ENJOY.