Often linked to sleep, stress can be a cause or a consequence of disturbed sleep. The good news is that there are many ways of fighting against stress and sleeping better. Among our tips, you’ll find food!
1.The importance of a recuperative sleep
Considered a waste of time for some, sleep plays a real role in health. It allows the brain to develop properly, it helps learning and aids our memory. It also ensures good cell reconstruction, takes care of our immune system and ensures we’re in a good mood.
But it is not always easy to have a real restorative sleep and many people suffer from sleep disorders, – 1 in 5 people are insomniacs. So how can we sleep better? Well, first of all, you have to eat a varied and balanced diet, especially in the evening!
2.Eat better, sleep better
Iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamins of group B play a major role in the brain’s equilibrium. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause sleep disorders.
Where do I find them?
Group B vitamins are very abundant in cereal products, so we shouldn’t ignore starchy foods! One serving for each meal. Oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts …) are rich in magnesium. For iron, we can count on red meats, green leafy vegetables and legumes! And of course for calcium, there are dairy products and also sardines! A portion of sardines is the equivalent of 3 dairy products.
Dinner, the most important meal!
A dinner with too many fats, too rich or with simply too much food requires a long and tedious digestion that can compromise your sleep, especially if the meal is consumed shortly before bedtime. (1)
To put the odds on your side the dinner should:
- Be consumed at the latest 2 hours before bedtime. That way there will be no problem with digestion, you’ll be able go to bed feeling light!
- Composed of foods rich in tryptophan (2): an amino acid (protein fragment) precursor of natural serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes sedation and therefore sleep, but also natural melatonin, the sleep hormone. Many foods contain tryptophan: turkey is the richest source of tryptophan but you will also find it in meat, poultry, fish, farm eggs, dairy products, chocolate, parsley, squash seeds and soy. Nevertheless, to be sure to take full advantage of the benefits of tryptophan it is recommended to consume these foods with a source of starch (potato, pasta, …). The coupling of the two ensures the passage of tryptophan through the brain barrier.
- Contain omegas 3: They are everywhere! Another benefit of omega 3: a good rate of omega 3 increases the synthesis of serotonin and therefore helps sleep. They are found in oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, halibut, sardines), in vegetable oils (rapeseed oil, nuts), flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
- Consist of foods with a high glycemic index. Yes, I know, as a rule these foods get bad press, being accused of all sorts of evils, but if you suffer from insomnia they can become your allies. Consuming these foods 4 hours before bedtime increases the production of insulin which promotes the feeling of sleepiness. It is important to consume them in reasonable quantities and not to abuse them.
We should avoid stimulants!
Farewell late afternoon coffee, sodas, energy drinks and alcohol. It has been proven, these drinks disturb the quality of sleep (3).
All of these eating habits can be found in our sleep and stress program. They’ll not only help you fall asleep, but also help you sustain a non-interrupted, recuperative sleep, so the next day you wake up full energy and a sense of increased awareness.
The 5 bonus tips for stress-free sleep
- Do a digital detox: Remove all screens 1h before bedtime (4)
- Take air: empty your head, take time for yourself. A little walk around the house after your meal improves your digestion. You will feel lighter and you will ventilate your mind, the perfect combo to go to bed light and with free spirit!
- Breathe: Do you still feel stressed before sleeping? Concentrate on your breathing, inhale and exhale slowly several times. Good breathing helps expel tension. It’s a relaxation method that will help you let go before putting your head on the pillow. Do it in 4 steps, you count from 1 to 4: you inhale, you hold your breathe, you expire and then you hold your breathe again; and we start again, 3 times. You’ll sleep for sure.
- Drink a hot drink: A bowl of hot milk, or a vervain or chamomile tea can also help sleep. It’s physiological, hot drinking helps regulate the temperature of your body, and will help you fall into the arms of Morpheus.
- Use a routine of essential oils for sleep and stress (5)
Use all these good sleep tips and regain your vitality.
- Adant, G. Soigner l’insomnie chronique des résidents en maison de retraite sans médicaments.Petitjean, F., Buda, C., Janin, M., Sallanon, M., & Jouvet, E. M. (1985).
- Insomnie par administration de parachlorophénylalanine: réversibilité par injection périphérique ou centrale de 5-hydroxytryptophane et de sérotonine. Sleep, 8(1), 56-67.
- ROYANT-PAROLA, S. Traitement non médicamenteux de l’insomnie.
- Vi-Huong, N. M., Pallanca, O., Brion, A., & Vecchierini, M. F. (2017). Les habitudes de vie et de sommeil chez les patients âgés insomniaques. Médecine du Sommeil, 14(1), 43.
- Goetz, P. (2011). Phytothérapie de l’insomnie. Phytothérapie, 9(1), 38-41.