Kathryn Fielding / 2 Aug 2018
Sleeping in sweltering temperatures may make your bedtime regime more difficult than usual. Adequate rest and sleep are just as important as good nutrition and sufficient exercise when it comes to your health. As you sleep, your brain and body are able to rest: cardiac function slows, energy is conserved, and memories are fixed and consolidated. Without quality sleep, your ability to concentrate, make judgements and participate in daily activities decreases, whilst your irritability is likely to increase (understandably, right?). So how can we help our body slip into a slumber during the summer? Here are some top tips...
Avoidance of foods that could trigger indigestion is key, as this is likely to make falling asleep considerably more tricky (common offenders include spicy and fatty foods). Instead focus on tryptophan-rich foods which can help to trigger the onset of sleep thanks to their high plasma melatonin content. These include sesame seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, salmon, spinach, watercress, turkey and bananas. Combine them with a complex carbohydrate, such as a gluten-free oatcake or black rice to help the tryptophan to be absorbed.
Higher carbohydrate meals may also help to improve the onset of sleep. However, you should ensure you leave 3 hours between eating your last meal of the day and hitting the hay. This is because digestion elevates your body temperature, which is not what you want as it's the natural drop in temperature during sleep plays an important role in deep sleep quality.
Try drinking a cup of Montmorency cherry juice an hour before bedtime. This provides your body with a hit of sleep-inducing melatonin and its related compounds, tryptophan and serotonin, known to have beneficial effects on sleep-wake rhythms and increased sleep time.
Load up your trolley with these furry friends. Studies report kiwis help to promote a good sleep pattern as they are high in serotonin, antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and vitamins C and E. Try having 1 kiwifruit and natural yoghurt (which is rich in tryptophan) for a healthy, sleep-promoting dessert.
Have a cold shower before you got to bed and invest in cotton sheets which are more breathable than synthetic polyester, or silk and satin sheets.