Sleepy foods that contain sleepy hormones.
As adults we have a good idea of how food and drink can have an effect on our alertness and energy levels, whether it be a morning coffee for a bolt of energy or the feeling of drowsiness after a big roast dinner. It is what the food contains that has an effect on our energy levels. Coffee for instance contains caffeine and when consumed first thing upon waking the caffeine interferes with chemicals in the brain that help to regulate your circadian rhythm (also known as our sleep- wake cycle) and gives you a spike of alertness. A roast dinner on the other hand is generally a mixture of carbohydrates and protein and often eaten in larger amounts. Big meals encourage more blood to rush to our stomachs to help break down and digest the food leaving us feeling lethargic.
We know that caffeine and sugary foods give us small bursts of energy but similarly there are also foods that contain sleepy hormones and can help as a sleep aid. The pineal gland in the centre of your brain produces a hormone called Melatonin, which in turn helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
A good bedtime routine will start the melatonin production and lets the child’s body know that it is getting ready to sleep. In addition, we can aid this transition into sleepiness with the help from some foods. Whilst there are no foods guaranteed to help with sleep there are foods that contain naturally occurring melatonin to aid sleepiness.
Bananas: a favourite snack with everyone and full of so many amazing nutrients. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and B6 and fibre. They can help reduce stress, anxiety, relax muscles and aid the sleep cycle with naturally occurring melatonin and serotonin.
Tart cherries (halved and pitted): delicious and high in fibre and loaded with vitamins and nutrients plus they are one of the top foods that provide a high concentrate of naturally occurring melatonin.
Cereals: a sugar free cereal that is carbohydrate dense contains serotonin, which will help with falling to sleep quicker.
Oatmeal: also high in the sleepy hormone melatonin. Found in oats is tryptophan which is an amino acid which the brain converts into serotonin, which relaxes the body, making you sleepy.
….other foods to aid sleep are fatty fish, chickpeas, sweet corn, milk, and rice.
If you already employ a ‘sleepy foods’ and your little one is still struggling to sleep, please get in touch. The sleep plan includes a guide of what foods will help your child settle into sleep but this may not help on it’s own. Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.