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Foods We Eat Contribute to a Better Night’s Sleep

Can the Foods We Eat Contribute to a Better Night’s Sleep?

Studies show that eating foods that are less fibrous and contain more saturated fat and sugar throughout the day results in light and less restorative sleep. In a
certain study, researchers tracked the diet and sleep for a group of healthy adults throughout five nights and found that the food choices during the day indeed affected their sleep.

Benefits of Good Night Sleep: Why Is It Important?
Sleep is the most important part of one’s health and well-being as the body repairs, rejuvenates itself, and makes one prepared for another day and the activity associated with wakefulness. Sleep has additional benefits including preventing excess weight gain, heart disease, and prolonged illness duration. 

When a person is well-rested, they can solve problems utilizing their memory capacity at the optimum. However, if one is not rested, his/her brain may not function at full capacity often losing concentration and alertness in the process. After a full sleep cycle rejuvenates the body giving the person a boost to perform all the activities they want to. A person can avoid depression and exposure to diseases such as colds and flu. According to a study, sleep deprivation is linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which spikes the risk for those suffering from insomnia. 

Problems That Arise With Poor Sleep
The long-term effects of continuous sleep deprivation are real and tangible. Both our short-term and long-term memories are impacted negatively. It affects one's concentration, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Pairing up a lack of adequate sleep with more eating may also result in Type 2 Diabetes although there are many other factors involved.

Individuals who do not sleep well routinely are prone to becoming quick-tempered and moody. Sleepiness along with sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of car accidents. It compromises the body’s immunity system leading to a drop in libido and testosterone levels in men. Higher blood pressure and inflammation may lead to heart disease and stroke.

How Do Our Bodies Chemically Work Concerning Sleep?
According to the energy conservation theory, the primary function of 'sleep' is to reduce an individual's energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night. The body secretes a chemical named melatonin—a hormone that induces drowsiness. Melatonin starts to increase in the evening and peaks in the middle of the night, letting us know it is time to sleep. It pairs with the body's circadian rhythm alerting that it's time to sleep. 

Many biological processes take place during sleep; the brain rejuvenates and the body begins the digestive process to digest the food consumed during the day and generate toxic waste. Nerve cells repair themselves and promote healthy brain function. The body works on repairing its cells, restoring energy, and releasing molecules such as hormones and proteins. 

All human activity during the time of its activity is linked to a chemical called dopamine. The pineal gland regulates our internal clock, known as our circadian rhythm, by releasing melatonin in response to light. Melatonin is produced in response to a hormone called norepinephrine.

Apart from this, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones (including tryptophan, gamma-aminobutyric acid [GABA], calcium, pyridoxine, serotonin, potassium, magnesium, histamine, acetylcholine, L-ornithine, folate, antioxidants, vitamins D and B, zinc, and copper) induce good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle.

What Are Some of the Sleep-Promoting Compounds?
Different foods contain differing quantities of sleep-promoting compounds, whereas some exceptions have high concentrations that could potentially stimulate sleep. Hormones such as leptin (satiety signaler) and ghrelin (appetite stimulator) are generated during the sleep process; these hormones are regulated during the deep sleep cycle. With a poor sleep cycle, their production is disturbed leading to other various problems. One’s willpower is strengthened during a sound sleep cycle.

Foods that promote sleep include the following:

Cherries, especially sour cherries contain melatonin, control your body’s internal clock, lower body temperature, and induce drowsiness. Two 1 oz. glasses of tart cherry juice increased sleep time by 40 minutes more on average and sleep efficiency by 6%.

Bananas are a quick and easy snack full of powerful nutrients, including vitamin B6. Potassium and magnesium help the body’s muscles to relax, and the relaxed state prolongs deep sleep. Consuming bananas also help reduce high blood pressure. Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is a chemical that the body converts to serotonin and melatonin.

Pineapples contain 75% more aMT6-s than bananas or oranges; this measures the amount of melatonin circulating in the body and aids digestion in the body. Additionally, pineapples contain immunity-boosting antioxidants; their enzymes can ease digestion. Consumption of pineapples has multiple benefits, including, reduced risk of cancer and inflammation, easing symptoms of arthritis, and speeding up recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise.

Oranges, in addition to melatonin, contain vitamin B, which helps with sleep in several ways, viz. by reducing anxiety and depression, improving the regularity of the sleep/wake cycle, and helping the body processes hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA (the chief sleep-promoting neurotransmitter in the brain).

Avocados contain high quantities of magnesium—the sleep mineral that helps a person sleep and regulates the sleep cycle. Magnesium is a chemical that is a natural relaxant and it reduces the production of adrenaline. Resultantly, you wake up feeling more refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Avocados are incredibly nutritious and contain more potassium than bananas. They have monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber that help in preventing heart disease and provide roughage. Eating avocados lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Kale has abundant quantities of calcium, which aids one’s brain to use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin; it is an all-around healthy vegetable. Other dark leafy vegetables including collards, spinach, and broccoli fall in the same category. Other health benefits include vitamin A (important for eye and bone health and a strong immune system), vitamin C (aids in cold and chronic disease prevention), and vitamin K (good for blood clotting and bone-building), folate—a vitamin B that's key for brain development, and alpha-linolenic acid—an omega-3 fatty acid.

As a salad vegetable, there is none superior to lettuce. Lettuce has lactucarium - a milky secretion that has sedative properties and is commonly referred to as lettuce opium. There are several lettuce varieties, including garden lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and especially wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa). 

Lettuce and other leafy vegetables also aid in providing roughage and fiber that helps in easy motility. Lettuce helps strengthen bones due to the presence of vitamin K. Water makes up over 95% of raw lettuce and helps hydrate the body. It is a source of vitamin A, which plays a role in eye health and improved vision.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant, phytonutrient lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits; these include reduced risk of heart disease and cancer and promoted sleep cycles. Lycopene colors tomatoes bright red and protects them from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays; it has the same effect on human body cells. Tomatoes also have potassium, vitamins B, C, E, and K, potassium, folate, and other nutrients. Tomatoes cooked with a little oil, herbs, and spices are both tasty and facilitate better sleep.

Holy Basil:
Holy basil—a medicinal plant known for its qualities of promoting health and wellness—is also known for its sleep-inducing properties. Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is used in holistic treatments for the body and calming the mind, helps lower cortisol levels, and treats depression. 

Ayurveda and Vedic religions consider Tulsi as a sacred plant used in medicine, but Thai cuisine uses this as a common herb, named kaphrao. Apart from Thai dishes, it is also used to make tea by steeping it in hot water. Drinking this tea before bedtime will promote a state of calm and make us drowsy.

Alpha-carotene, which induces better sleep cycles, is found in abundance in carrots. Carrots and pumpkins are potent sources of the powerful carotenoid.

Spinach is filled with nutrients that help promote overall health and well-being. It contains tryptophan and a large quantity of vitamin B6, which promotes better sleep.

Wrapping Up!
The above-mentioned extract should give you a fair bit of information on why it is crucial to sleep and how what you eat affects a night’s sleep. Some fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on your sleep cycle while imbibing other health benefits while there are two that will cause more harm than good. 

It becomes imperative to keep an eye on what you eat. Sleep deprivation has long-lasting impacts that can be changed with a change in lifestyle and eating habits. 



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