The relationship between food and sleep is a very real one. Some sleep inducing foods contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into the hormones serotonin and melatonin, both having a relaxing and somnolent effect.
Reason: Milk contains tryptophan that gets converted into sleep-boosting serotonin.
Suggestion: Savour a warm cup of milk for a nightcap.
Reason: Oats are a rich source of sleepinviting melatonin.
Suggestion: A small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of honey is cosy. Save this for dinner on nights when you are too worked up to relax and sleep.
Reason: These heart-healthy nuts contain both tryptophan and musclerelaxing magnesium.
Suggestion: Soak and grind almonds to add to your bedtime milk, or stir powdered almonds into the milk.
Reason: Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.
Suggestion: Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Or try spreading it on the whole-wheat bread slice for your snack.
Poppy Seeds/ Khuskhus
Reason: Poppy seeds have been used as a condiment associated with sleep as early as the first century. It was considered sacred to Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. It is derived from the opium poppy plant, which is known for its narcotic properties.
Suggestion: Add poppy seeds to your food. Soaking and grinding the seeds to a paste, and adding it to curry for the extra flavour is common practice in some parts of the country.
Reason: Carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to rise, and that prompts the pancreas to put out more insulin. Insulin in the blood stream facilitates the entry of tryptophan into the brain.
Suggestion: Snacking on a slice of wholewheat bread with a dash of jam. Other options include thick vegetable soup an hour or more before bedtime.
Reason: Remember the phrase; snoozing after Thanksgiving? It’s the turkey, and it contains tryptophan.
Suggestion: A turkey sandwich with soup as dinner.
Reason: They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
Suggestion: Have a banana for dessert.
Reason: Fresh and also dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the
body’s internal clock to regulate sleep.
Suggestion: Include cherries in your fruit salad or dessert. Especially try eating cherries before a trip when you want to sleep on the flight.
Reason: This has a mild sedating effect, and is the perfect natural antidote for restless minds and bodies.
Suggestion: Try chamomile for a bedtime tea.