Have you ever found yourself unable to drop off at the end of the day? Most people will experience problems sleeping at some point in their life and it is thought that around a third of Brits suffer with chronic insomnia.
Many lifestyle factors can contribute to a sleepless night – stress, diet and environment – but when we do find ourselves tossing and turning into the small hours of the night, it can be all too tempting to reach for the sleeping pills and a report published by a leading mental health charity suggested that Britain has become a nation of "sleeping pill addicts".
Reduce your risk of becoming addicted to these pills and try something natural instead. Research from across the globe has suggested that some whole foods may improve sleep quality by up to 42%. So before you pop those prescription pills, take a look at these tips from Sun Chlorella Holistic Nutritionist Nikki Hillis, who has shared some of her favourite foods to help you achieve a longer, deeper sleep.
It might seem bizarre but an algae supplement such as Sun Chlorella is rich in chlorophyll that contains high amounts of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, tryptophan and omega 3 fatty acids, all essential nutrients for quality sleep. A recent study by Oxford University showed that the participants on a course of daily supplements of omega-3 had nearly one hour more sleep and seven fewer waking episodes per night compared with the participants taking the placebo. Furthermore, the tryptophan found in chlorella is a sleep-enhancing amino acid used by the brain to produce neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin that help you relax and go to sleep. While young people have the highest melatonin levels, production of this hormone wanes as we age. Calcium and magnesium relax the body and B vitamins are essential for stress relief.
2. NUTS AND SEEDS
Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and sesame seeds are rich in magnesium and calcium – two minerals that help promote sleep. Walnuts are also a good source of tryptophan. The unsaturated fats found in nuts improve your serotonin levels, and the protein in the nuts help maintain a stable blood sugar level to prevent you waking in the night. 100 grams of sesame seeds boasts over 1000 micrograms of tryptophan. The same amount of chia seeds have over 700 mgs of tryptophan, while pumpkin seeds have almost 600 mg.
3. HERBAL TEA (such as Chamomile, Passionflower, Valerian, Lavender, Lemongrass)
Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. Lemongrass’ calming properties have been long revered to ward off nightmares while chamomile tea is used regularly worldwide for insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.
Research suggests that eating kiwi fruit may have significant benefits for sleep due to its high antioxidant and serotonin levels. Researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University studied the effects of kiwi consumption on sleep and found that eating kiwi on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity. After 4 weeks of kiwi consumption, researchers found that the amount of time it takes to fall asleep after going to bed decreased by 35.4%, the amount of time spent in periods of wakefulness after initially falling asleep fell 28.9% and the total time spent asleep among the volunteers
Honey promotes a truly deep and restorative sleep. If you take a teaspoon or two of honey before bed, you’ll be re-stocking your liver with glycogen so that your brain doesn’t activate a stress response, which often occurs when glycogen is low. Honey also contributes to the release of melatonin in the brain, as it leads to a slight spike in insulin levels and the release of tryptophan in the brain.
Sun Chlorella Sound Asleep Smoothie
Smoothies are a popular and satisfying breakfast but we rarely associate them with bedtime. Here, Sun Chlorella Holistic Nutritionist Nikki Hillis shares her ‘Sound Asleep Smoothie’ packed with tasty ingredients to help you nod off and enjoy a restful kip.
• 1 pineapple
• 1 frozen banana
• ½ cup uncooked oats
• 2 cups kale
• 1 tbsp raw honey
• 1 tbsp almond butter
• ½ cup almond milk
• 1 sachet of Sun Chlorella