A long and restful night’s sleep is very important for a person. Thanks to him, the body can relax, recover, get rid of the effects of stress. While we sleep, very important metabolic processes take place that ensure our health and optimal functioning. A lot of scientific research has been devoted to sleep problems. As a result, scientists came to the conclusion that with the help of certain substances it is possible to improve its quality.
It is better if you find them in ordinary food. After all, our body has evolved for a very long time to learn how to extract vitamins, minerals and other biologically active substances from organic products. There is no guarantee that it will easily absorb ascorbic acid, potassium and other nutrients from dietary supplements. Our cells and healthy gut bacteria feel much better about getting them from real food than from any dietary supplement.
Of course, there are times when it is strategically important to consult a doctor and include dietary supplements in your diet to help fill gaps in your diet, to quickly get the nutrients you are deficient in. Our advice is for those who do not have systemic pathologies and other serious reasons for visiting a doctor.
Find out what to include in your meals to ensure a good night’s rest. Here is a list of the most important sleep-enhancing nutrients and a list of functional foods that are their best food sources.
Selenium for Immunity Optimization
It happens that a person sleeps poorly and does not realize that his problems are due to a lack of selenium in the diet. This nutrient is part of 30 different chemical compounds present in the human body. Selenium ensures the efficient functioning of the thyroid gland, the successful functioning of the immune system, is responsible for metabolic processes and redox reactions. According to medical statistics at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, about 80% of Russians experience a deficiency of this trace element.
The best food sources of this substance are:
- brazil nuts;
- sunflower seeds;
Vitamin C for health
It turns out that ascorbic acid is important not only for protection against pathological microflora, strengthening immunity, etc. Scientific studies show that people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood have more trouble falling asleep and are more likely to wake up during the night.
Excellent sources of ascorbic acid are:
- green leafy vegetables;
- Bell pepper;
Tryptophan for dinner guarantees rest
It is one of the most important biologically active substances for the human body, because this essential alpha-amino acid is a precursor of serotonin. Signs of its deficiency are not only insomnia, but also depressive states, craving for alcohol, and chronic fatigue.
If you want to get a serving of tryptophan, on your plate should be:
- sweet potato;
- chia seeds;
- pumpkin seeds;
- natural yoghurt, etc.
Potassium-enriched meals can help you sleep peacefully
In the journal Sleep back in 1991, the results of a study by American scientists were published. Through experimentation, they have found that potassium can be especially helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep.
Bananas are often touted as the best source of potassium. But there are other products that are not inferior and even ahead of its content, while avoiding excess sugar:
- leafy greens;
Calcium for Pleasant Dreams
Perhaps you can’t close your eyes for a long time at night or sleep anxiously due to a lack of calcium in your diet. The European Neurology Journal has published research findings that prove that the lack of deep sleep and REM sleep disorders is often caused by a lack of this important mineral in the body.
The most affordable sources of calcium:
- sesame seeds.
Vitamin D for the nervous system
The journal Medical Hypothesis published the results of a two-year experimental work of scientists from the University of Northern California. They found that there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as disorders such as insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and the like. In 1500 volunteers who regularly took calciferols, persistent improvements in sleep quality were recorded.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published the findings of scientists from Louisiana State University that a lack of calciferols is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia at night.
There are several valuable sources of calciferols:
- salmon, tuna, mackerel and other marine fish;
- shiitake mushrooms;
Omega‑3 polyunsaturated fatty acids against insomnia
A study conducted at the University of Oxford has confirmed the relationship between polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet and the quality of a night’s rest. All 362 children from 7 to 9 years old who took part in a scientific experiment and received 600 mg of seaweed in addition to their usual menu for 16 weeks began to sleep better.
Food sources of omega-3s are:
- chia seeds;
- pumpkin seeds;
- flax seeds.
Melatonin is the main sleep hormone
It regulates sleep by being responsible for cycles. It is produced by special cells of the pineal gland — pinealocytes. To effectively produce melatonin, the body needs to get enough tryptophan.
It is desirable to enrich the diet with foods that stimulate the production of melatonin or contain a small amount of this hormone:
Pyridoxine for stress protection
This essential nutrient helps modulate our body’s defense response to stress and promotes relaxation.
Among the best sources of vitamin B6:
- cashew nuts;
- peanut butter;
- sweet potato.
It is better if all these natural products are subjected to gentle processing in order to preserve the vitamins and other biologically active substances in their composition as much as possible. Include them in your diet more often and sleep peacefully!