Your daily sleep diet


*This article originally appeared
here on Sporteluxe

Breakfast: Green smoothie with hemp protein, bananas, eggs and spinach

Snack: Flax seed crackers with sliced banana or fresh tomato

Lunch: Poke bowl with fresh salmon and heaps of leafy greens

Snack: 2 boiled eggs with 2 tbsp. walnut spread

Dinner: Grilled tuna (150g) with a seaweed & leafy green salad topped with 1 tsp chia seeds

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The reasoning:

The below nutrients are precursors which allow sleep neurotransmitters to be naturally produced by the body: melatonin and serotonin in particular. Translated, in order to get to sleep in the eve and feel alert in the day (read more on your 24 hour circadian clock here), we need the nutrients below. To make things super simple for you, I created the day planner above using rich source of these micro and macro nutrients you need to sleep soundly, deeply and wake up more energised than ever.

Tryptophan

Presented in International Journal of Tryptophan Research, tryptophan is an imperative for the production of serotonin, which later is converted to melatonin in periods of darkness. Recall these are the key hormones to control how tired and awake you feel, so sufficient intake of this protein subunit is critical to qa quality night sleep. Ideally, eat protein rich dinners, with a preference for fish such as salmon and tuna. It is available in supplement form, however it’s more readily absorbed by your body when obtained via food rather than a pill.

Important to note that tryptophan depletion impairs sleep, contributes to sleep apnea, mental health condition SAD, limits the production of happiness hormone dopamine and lowers mood, especially for women.

Finally, the same research highlighted tryptophan supplementation (via food or vitamin format)
does not slow mental speed, cause drowsiness or lethargy like sleeping pills.

Image: JSHealth

Omega 3

Highlighted in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, omega 3 nutrients via fatty fish increased sleep length and reduces time taken to fall asleep. Helping to relax your mind and body and regulate sleep governing hormone serotonin, omega 3’s are essential for unbroken, restorative rest. Ideally, source your omega’s from fish, nuts and seeds. And f you’re plant-powered, go for algal oil (the oil of algae), seaweed, flax, hemp seeds and hemp protein.

B-Group Vitamins

Reported in academic journal Food & Nutrition Research, B6 is vital for a good night’s sleep because you need it to effectively create melatonin (as above; melatonin = sleepiness). Sources? Foods such as leafy greens, bananas, spinach, salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.

Serotonin 

Research published in Brain Disorders and Therapy pinpoint serotonin as the fundamental (the other being melatonin) neurotransmitter to govern our sleep. This is explained by the reasoning that in order to create melatonin, it needs to be converted from serotonin first.. Eggs, salmon, bananas, walnuts are all high dietary sources of serotonin. Important to note here are the substances which inhibit serotonin function properly: caffeine, alcohol and stimulatory drugs. Ideally, avoid them as much as possible. Yes. All three.

Melatonin

As pinpointed by an article published in Advanced Nutrition, melatonin is required for optimal sleep as it facilitates the circadian rhythm. Obtain this nutrient via plant foods such as cherries, tomatoes, pomegranate, goji berries and walnuts.

Image: iStock

A summary

Tryptophan: Fish, eggs, poultry

Omega 3: Fatty fish, algae, seaweed, hemp seeds and hemp protein, flax seeds

Melatonin: Tomatoes, cherries, walnuts

Vitamin B6: Bananas, spinach, salmon, walnuts and flaxseed

Serotonin: Eggs, salmon, bananas, walnuts

Notice fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, bananas, eggs are in almost each group? Same! It means eat as much as possible and include these foods within each and every day. What does this look like though? 

Make sure you keep up the h2o throughout the day—it’s key to blood circulation which is fundamental to mental clarity, energy levels and curbing hunger. Aim for 500ml with prior to each meal; and use an app (e.g. Daily Water) to remind you if you tend to forget.