Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Three things you can eat to get a better night’s sleep

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

WHETHER it’s the hot and humid weather, worrying about holidays or enjoying the longer nights a little too much, summer can be a difficult time to get enough sleep.

But luckily there are some dietary decisions that will set you up for as close to an eight-hour kip as you’re likely to get.

Here, nutritionist Libby Limon and sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley reveal the nutrients and minerals our bodies need to get a good night’s rest.


Magnesium

For something that sounds more like a character out of the latest X-Men franchise than a naturally occurring mineral – magnesium plays a surprisingly vital role in keeping our bodies running smoothly.

“Magnesium is probably one of the most important minerals when it comes to sleep,” Libby told us, “so I often recommend that those with sleep issues take a magnesium supplement.”

Why a supplement over a diet change? Well, although magnesium occurs naturally in many foods, it is notoriously difficult to absorb. It’s suggested that 75-90% of the UK population isn’t getting their daily minimum intake of magnesium – and that deficiency could be preventing your body from operating at its peak.

 

Protein

It’s not just the food that we eat just before bed which influences our sleeping patterns, but the food we consume during our waking hours.

Protein-rich foods are good for the production of serotonin, which many of us know as the ‘happy hormone’. This handy substance also plays a role in the sleep/wake cycle, helping to keep us upbeat and alert throughout the day.

According to Libby, however, it’s equally important when going to sleep, “Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin, so eating protein rich-foods – which are good for serotonin production – are advised to promote sleep”.

That’s why consuming a diet packed with protein-heavy food like egg whites, turkey and spinach, could help you nod off at night.

 

Cherries

The quintessential summer fruit, the cherry, is almost perfectly timed to help us fall asleep on hot summer nights. Libby recommends that cherries – one of the few natural sources of melatonin – are eaten an hour before bed to help boost levels of the hormone in the body.

Dr Neil Stanley explains exactly what role melatonin has in helping our bodies drop off.
“Melatonin is the hormone most commonly associated with the sleep-wake cycle. Levels of melatonin vary throughout the day (and night) which helps regulate circadian rhythms in the body. Melatonin levels are high at night (during sleep) and low during the day (during wakefulness).”

The bad news is that while cherries provide a helpful boost in your levels of melatonin, one serving alone is unlikely to solve a larger sleep problem. “As long as you eat a normal, healthy diet,” says Dr Stanley, “what you eat has no direct effect on your sleep-wake cycle.”

If there’s no food you can consume which will directly impact your ability to fall asleep, why make the connection between diet and sleep at all?

Sleep is as important as diet and exercise to our health, so if you’re not getting enough of it, it’s time to examine what exactly is keeping you up. And while you may never find the perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep, by eating a balanced diet you’ll not only boost your health, your sleep will get better, too.


For more tips on getting enough sleep, visit Furniture Villages’ 24-Hour Sleep Guide at http://www.furniturevillage.co.uk/the-24-hour-sleep-guide.html