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Foods to help you sleep

Nutrition plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, toss and turn and can’t stay asleep or just have trouble switching off after a busy day, or you sleep for less than ~8 hours your general health and wellbeing may be at risk. Sleep regulates mood, keeps your brain sharp and is related to learning and memory functions. It also appears to be a critical factor in your health, immune function, weight management and energy levels.

Adding these foods to your diet may help to increase your odds of a successful slumber.

1. Fish

Most fish, especially salmon and tuna, contain vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness). You should be aiming to eat 2-3 portions of fish a week. If you currently don’t eat any, a tin of tuna on a jacket potato or a smoked salmon sandwich is a good place to start.

2. Tart Cherry Juice

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but a number of studies are showing that cherry juice may aid sleep. The research also found that people who regularly consume cherry juice have improved quality of sleep. Research from Northumbria University found that Montmorency cherry juice significantly increases the levels of melatonin in the body, the hormone which regulates sleep.

3. Yogurt and milk

Calcium deficiency may play a role in the time it takes you to fall asleep. It has also been suggested that calcium is effective in the stabilization of nerve fibers, including those in the brain which may help you switch off at night. Dairy products like yogurt and milk therefore may help you to drift off to sleep at night. Try eating a small bowl of Greek yoghurt with a handful of almonds in the evening before going to bed.

4. Bananas

Bananas, well-known for being rich in potassium, are also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness). A banana will also count as one of your five a day so get snacking!

5. Almonds

Almonds contain magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. They are also a source of protein that can help maintain a stable blood sugar level while sleeping, and help promote sleep. Try eating a tablespoon of almond butter on oatcakes or a small handful of almonds in yoghurt.