Lack of sleep isn’t just bad for your concentration, it can lead to a whole range of other issues, from bad skin through to weight gain.
So, what can you do if it’s past midnight and you’re stuck staring at the ceiling listening to the deafening silence of the rest of the house?
Easy. Go raid the fridge and nibble on some of these foods to help you nod off. Or perhaps try including them in your dinner first — who really wants to get out of bed once you’re snuggled in?
Eating carbs increases the level of tryptophan in your blood, which the body converts into serotonin — a sleep-inducing brain chemical that slows nerve impulses and promotes calm.
While more research is needed, sleep researchers generally agree that including a carbohydrate, particularly slow-burning carbs (beans, pasta, quinoa, sweet potatoes) to your evening meal will help you sleep more soundly.
This caffeine-free herbal tea contains Chrysin — a type of antioxidant found in the chamomile leaf often promoted for its relaxing properties and its sedative effect.
It’s a good alternative to coffee and black or green tea, which all contain caffeine.
These summer seasonal fruit are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone essential for regulating sleep patterns.
Melatonin is made in the brain by converting tryptophan to serotonin and then to melatonin, which is secreted at night by the pineal gland in the brain to induce drowsiness, lower body temperature and put the body into sleep mode.
When there is an increased level of melatonin in your body, it helps you sleep better.
A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can send you snoozing because they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
The unsaturated fats found in nuts also improve your serotonin levels, and protein nuts provide can help maintain a stable blood sugar level, which decreases the chance of waking through the night.
Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle and nerve relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both.
Bananas are also rich in B-vitamins, which converts tryptophan into serotonin, increasing relaxation even more.
Sipping a hot milky drink can encourage drowsiness because milk contains a small amount of sleep-enhancing tryptophan, however, it’s likely that any perceived sleep-inducing effects of warm milk are psychological – but hey, whatever works!