Here, we are going to talk about good lullaby foods.
“Golden slumbers kiss your eyes; smiles await you when you rise.”
Do normally “smiles await you when you rise”? Not really? Don’t sleep well during the night? You are not alone. There are many reasons for that and your diet is among the most important ones.
Nutrients responsible for your good sleep
Several nutrients are responsible for your good sleep and your circadian rhythm: melatonin, magnesium, potassium and vitamins D and B12. Their deficiencies are the main contributors to poor sleep: magnesium deficiency leads to insomnia; lack of potassium is the main factor of not staying asleep throughout the night; vitamin D deficiency causes excessive daytime sleepiness.
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating your internal clock. The presence of light in the morning stimulates your brain to induce feelings of alertness and turn off melatonin production, signaling your brain that it’s time to wake up. Plants, animals (including humans) or fungi are not capable of producing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes needed for its synthesis. Animals must obtain vitamin B12 directly or indirectly from bacteria. Due to vitamin B12 is not available from plant products, its deficiency makes a legitimate concern for vegans. Vitamin B12 is found in most animal-derived foods, including fish and shellfish, meat (especially liver), poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. However, the bioavailability from eggs is less than 9%, compared to 40% to 60% from fish, fowl and meat.
Balance, balance, balance
However, it had to be the proper balance between magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D. These all work together synergistically. A lack or excess even of one of them can destroy the balance and cause many health problems.
The best solution ever invented in the world is a proper diet: with varied whole foods you will not end up with too much of one nutrient at the expense of others. Foods in general contain all the cofactors and needed co-nutrients in the proper amounts for optimal health.
According to the latest study led by Wayne Campbell, a Purdue University professor of nutrition science, U.S.A., overweight and obese adults who are losing weight with a high-protein diet are more likely to sleep better. The article about this study was published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in March 2016.
Good lullaby foods
Here’s how eating smarter can help you get to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for the entire night.
- Meat: Meat contains tryptophan that plays a key role in the production of serotonin, which, in turn, can be converted into melatonin – the substance that helps with sleep regulation.
- Fish: Fish is good for your sleep for the same reasons as meat.
- Jasmine Rice: It was noticed that people who eat carbohydrate-rich suppers of veggies and tomato sauce over rice, especially jasmine rice, fall asleep significantly faster at bedtime than those with other type of meals. Scientists aren’t sure how and why it happens, but it happens.
- Tart Cherry Juice: Melatonin-rich tart cherry juice was shown to help sleeping better.
- Milk: Milk and other dairy products boast healthy doses of calcium.
- Whole Grains: Rich in magnesium, bulgur, barley and other whole grains improve your sleep.
- Kale: Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collards, contain healthy doses of bioavailable calcium.
- Bananas: Bananas are well-known for being rich in potassium.
- Pulses: One serving of pulses a day can help to get your weight away. And not only that, it also improves your night sleep, a new study says.
Special word about tryptophan rich food for a good night rest
Tryptophan plays a key role in the production of serotonin – a “hormone of happiness”, which, in turn, can be converted into melatonin – the substance that helps with sleep regulation.
The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces melatonin, a serotonin derived hormone, which affects the modulation of sleep patterns in both seasonal and circadian rhythms.
Melatonin biosynthesis in humans involves four enzymatic steps from the essential dietary amino acid tryptophan, which follows a serotonin pathway: tryptophan -> serotonin -> melatonin
The “hormone of darkness”, melatonin is naturally produced in our brain in darkness and its blood levels determine the circadian (day/night) rhythms. Melatonin like a medicine can be taken in low doses at the appropriate time to improve sleep, especially for jet lag and shift work. Melatonin is contained naturally in some foods like oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes and bananas.
Foods highest in tryptophan
- Pumpkin seeds: 576mg of tryptophan per 100g (206% DV), or 161mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (58% DV)
- Soy: 575mg of tryptophan per 100g (205% DV), or 161mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (57% DV)
- Cheese: On average, 560mg of tryptophan per 100g (about 200% DV), or 150mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (about 50% DV)
- Meat (lamb, beef, pork): 415mg of tryptophan per 100g (148% DV)
- Chicken: 404mg of tryptophan per 100g (144% DV)
- Fish: 335mg of tryptophan per 100g (120% DV)
- Oats: 335mg of tryptophan per 100g (120% DV)
- Shellfish: 330mg of tryptophan per 100g (118% DV)
- Eggs: 167mg of tryptophan per 100g (60% DV), or 84mg (30% DV) per egg (50g)
- Beans and lentils: 115mg of tryptophan per 100g (41% DV)
Have a good night sleep!