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What To Eat To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is important during the Coronavirus pandemic

Today is World Sleep Day, and considering all the stress and anxiety we’re all going through as we face the challenge of dealing with COVID-19, it’s definitely a good time to start thinking about how we can sleep better. Getting enough quality sleep is one of the best ways we can boost our immunity and keep us strong and healthy.

What we eat and drink affects the quality of our sleep, and there are certain nutrients and foods can help us fall asleep faster and more soundly. Based on research by The Sleep Foundation and World Sleep Society, here are some dietary adjustments you can make for better sleep. 

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1. Eat foods rich in trytophan

Trytophan is an amino acid that the body uses to produce the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which promotes sleep. It's present in nuts, seeds, bananas, honey, eggs and dairy — this is why a glass of milk makes you  drowsy just before bedtime. Warm milk is especially soothing, since the gentle heat helps soothe and relax you. 

Sleep savvy tip: eat yogurt. Like milk, yogurt has high levels of trytophan and is a really good afternoon or bedtime snack. Boost its nutritional value by adding superfoods like nuts, seeds, fruits and chocolate bits. Yogurt is easy to buy at the local supermarket, but it's at its creamiest and freshest when homemade. Try this easy recipe for Homemade Yogurt that's a snap to make, then make this easy bedtime snack: take 1/2 cup of yogurt, mix in 1/4 cup fruit preserves and 1 tablespoon of honey. Serve in a small bowl with skewered slices of leftover cake and assorted fresh fruit. 

Yogurt with Fruit | Paul del Rosario

Greek Yogurt is a great alternative to plain yogurt. Creamier and tangier, it can be used as a substitute ingredient for  cream cheese, cream or sour cream. With high levels of calcium and trytophan, get its full benefits by enjoying it as a bedtime snack: ladle Greek yogurt into a small bowl, add nuts then sweeten with honey. Get the recipe here

Greek Yogurt | Paul del Rosario

2. Combine carbs + protein

Yes, trytophan is the wonder nutrient that you need to promote sleep, but it doesn't work alone. Carbs make it easier for your brain to access and use the trytophan, while protein is its building blocks. This is why carbo-loading can feel a sudden slump after carbo-loading. Combining these two nutrients is a good tactic to ready yourself for bed. Classic pairings include cereal and milk, peanut butter (or any nut butter) and crackers, bread and cheese. 

Sleep savvy dish: Marble Potato Casserole. This irresistible creamy casserole gets bold flavor from bacon. it's classic comfort food, so perfect for busy weeknights when you want something tasty, filling and familiar. Best of all, leftovers (if any) will taste even better at breakfast. Get the recipe here

Marble Potato Casserole | Paul del Rosario

These Banana Oatmeal Muffins are perfect for bedtime snacking. Bake them in mini-size tins so that each muffin is an easy mouthful. For extra nutrition, you can add flaxseed to the batter. Serve with warm milk, and you'll have no trouble finding your ZZZZs. Click here for the recipe.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins | Paulo Valenzuela

3. Make dinner light and lean

Heavy meals  disrupt your digestive system,  especially when high in fat, making you too uncomfortable to get quality sleep. Fatty food can also trigger indigestion, which is definitely not fun, especially at night. We suggest having a light dinner of lean proteins and healthy vegetables. 

Sleep savvy dish: Salmon Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette. This elegant dish is heart healthy, calorie-light and a snap to make. Just observe this cardinal rule: do not overcook the salmon. Find the recipe here

Salmon Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette | Paulo Valenzuela

Spring Roll Salad with Peanut Sauce is a fresh and easy dish that's perfect for hot summer weather. It's full of antioxidant-rich veggies and heart-healthy fats that boost serotonin, promoting restful sleep. Get the recipe here

Spring Roll Salad with Peanut Sauce | Paul del Rosario

World Sleep Day was created in 2008 by the World Sleep Society to raise awareness on how essential sleep is in quality of life. Try out a few of our tips and see if they help you sleep better. Let's all catch up on our ZZZs. 

Lead photo: Kate Stone Matheson, Unsplash