Dr Amir gives sleep advice for clock change
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Sleep is vital to our health and wellbeing, especially in the winter when we are vulnerable to numerous seasonal illnesses. Despite this it is thought that a third of all adults have difficulty with sleeping at least once in their lives. One expert shared some healthy snacks to eat before bed that could help you get some shut eye.
Researcher for BestMattress-Brand.org, Ray Soberno, recommended tart cherries, kiwifruit and bananas when trying to improve sleep.
“Fruit can be an excellent tool in managing mental and physical health issues and it has been extensively documented by researchers and medical professionals, in many cases diet being proven to offer great natural remedies to health issues including sleep,” he said.
Mr Soberno explained: “Tart cherries (Montmorency cherries) or tart cherry juice have been found in studies to have great sleep benefits.
“In one study it was discovered that consuming two one-cup portions of tart cherry juice daily resulted in the ability to fall asleep faster, more overall sleep time and significantly less awakenings. Thus, the outcome is overall increased sleep efficiency. The same effects have been reported in other tests as well.
“The benefits mentioned in these studies may come from the fact that tart cherries have higher concentrations of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythm (the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle) and promotes healthy sleep.
“Tart cherry juice also increases the bioavailability of tryptophan which has been found to decrease the time taken to fall asleep.
“The enzymes within the cherries keep the tryptophan in the body longer so not only do you fall asleep quicker but stay asleep longer.
“When adding the fruit or the juice into your bedtime routine it’s advised to consume daily in the morning and one to two hours before bedtime for optimal effect.”
However, he warned: “It’s important to note that tart cherry juice can contain added sugar, when too much sugar is incorporated into a diet can be harmful, so it’s recommended to choose no added sugar options if available.”
Mr Soberno said: “Beyond just their health values, kiwis have been said to have sleep inducing qualities, allowing those who eat it before bed to fall asleep faster and for longer.
“It’s been hypothesised that the high antioxidant capacity, serotonin and folate content of kiwifruit may contribute to the observed sleep benefits of kiwifruit consumption.
“Serotonin is one of the key chemicals that is found in high doses in kiwis. It is an end product of L-tryptophan metabolism, which is related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and low levels may cause insomnia.
“Folate deficiencies can also lead to symptoms of insomnia and fatigue, thus the levels of folate in kiwis could improve sleep quality for those who suffer with sleep conditions. It’s also been suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects as well.
“The research shows in this study that when kiwi was consumed over a period of four weeks it was found to improve sleep onset, duration and efficiency.
“Although it’s been noted more research is currently required into kiwis, the current studies suggest that eating one to two kiwis an hour before bed may help people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.”
“Along with being a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, and protein, bananas are widely known for having a lot of potassium,” he added. “The hormones serotonin and melatonin that are produced as a result of these nutrients are key to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.
“Tryptophan, an important amino acid that can be found in bananas, has been shown to enhance the quality of sleep. Since tryptophan cannot be produced by the body, eating a banana helps to increase levels of the amino acid.
“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation by slowing down signals to nerve cells, and tryptophan aids in the production of serotonin. Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep and regulates our circadian rhythm, often known as the sleep-wake cycle, is regulated by serotonin.
“Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which supports a healthy circadian cycle, the body’s internal clock.
“Magnesium also impacts the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that regulates the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands enhance the stress hormones when magnesium levels are low. A banana can be the ideal food to help you relax before bed because stress and worry are frequently linked to sleep issues including insomnia.”
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