Sleep is a necessity when training for a triathlon. It is essential for our daily function, but also being able to recover from one workout session to the next. So, when you aren’t getting the sleep you need, consider changing your habits around bedtime. You may also want to consider looking at your diet. Here are seven foods that have been shown to improve quality of sleep.
1) Tart cherries
A clinical study showed that consuming tart cherry juice at night resulted in a better sleep. Tart cherries contain a high level of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep cycle. Many people that have difficulty sleeping supplement with melatonin, but tart cherries are a natural source.
2) Herbal tea
A warm cup of tea is soothing, and herbs such as chamomile, mint and ginger have been used for centuries as natural sleep aids. Since screen time can also be detrimental to your sleep, we suggest shutting down all your technology before making yourself tea and enjoying it sans bright lights.
Walnuts are also a good source of melatonin (as well as heart-healthy fats). If you’re a tricky sleeper, you may want to make a handful your late night snack.
The fatty acids in fish have been shown to aid in the production of melatonin. If you’re not already eating fish, think about adding it to your weekly dinner rotation (regardless of whether or not you need help sleeping, fish is still an excellent healthy choice!).
The potassium in bananas helps to relax your muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid and precursor to the sleep-inducing neurotransmitters of serotonin and melatonin.
Remember those Thanksgiving meals? You entry a food coma pretty quickly when munching on some turkey. There are a few properties in turkey that explain this cause after eating a healthy dose of turkey. Turkey meat contains the amino acid tryptophan, which stimulates the production of the hormone melatonin. As we know, melatonin helps regulate our sleep schedule.
This last one is an interesting one. In recent years studies have emerged that kiwifruit may be a fruit that can promote sleep in humans. Such studies suggest that this is due to a kiwi’s high serotonin (neurotransmitter) content. Serotonin linked to our sleep cycle with low amounts correlated to insomnia.