What is the link between nutrition and sleep quality?

When we nod off, melatonin activates a complicated cascade of processes that help us to feel refreshed and healthy the next day. But what is the link between nutrition and sleep quality? Read on to learn more.

Our immune cells get to work, searching for pathogens and mutant cells to destroy. Potentially cancerous cells are identified and discarded while a protein called human growth hormone promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones. Detoxification occurs and amyloid plaques (association with Alzheimer’s disease) are flushed from the brain.

Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep so getting into a comfortable sleeping routine can have a profound effect on our wellbeing.

  • Exercise, especially outside in daylight helps to regulate sleep.
  • Research shows that magnesium plays a huge role in helping us to fall asleep. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds. Dark green leafy vegetables are magnesium wealthy, as are avocado, almonds, banana and dark chocolate.
  • Tryptophan found in bananas, oats and nuts helps us to sleep throughout the night.
  • Good quality proteins will also help stabilize blood-sugar levels, preventing a sugar crash, which may wake us.

It’s worth considering nutrition and energy levels are closely linked, so diet should be closely looked at, as well as lifestyle factors, when trying to improve your sleep quality.