If there’s one thing we could rank as most precious to a busy mum (and dad), it would have to be sweet, sweet sleep. Before becoming parents, opportunities for snooze time abounded, but once your first little bundle of joy arrives, all that changes!
While we could all probably do with getting a little more sleep, some of us struggle to unwind enough to make the sleep that we DO get of a good quality. Frustratingly, your ease in getting to sleep and the quality of sleep you have has nothing to do with how tired you actually are. I know myself that even when my eyes were almost melting off from exhaustion after the birth of my first baby, there were nights when I’d struggle to drop off.
While the usual culprits for uneasy sleep are things like anxiety or insomnia, holding a few extra kilograms of baby weight, can also affect your sleep patterns. Sleep apnea, or disordered breathing while asleep is more prevalent in individuals who are overweight or obese. Milder conditions like snoring and restless legs syndrome are also found more often in those with a higher BMI.
We know that healthy food helps create a healthy body and mind so it makes sense then that healthy food can lead not only to weight loss (which will help improve sleep patterns) but also to improved sleep. A recent study in the USA found that people who sleep for the recommended 7-8 hours per night are also those with the greatest variety of food and nutrients in their diets. Those who slept for the shortest and most erratic periods (less than 5 hours per night) had the poorest and least diverse diets. The overwhelming finding of the study worked to prove that a healthy diet promotes healthy sleep and healthy sleep patterns lead to a reduction in a variety of different illnesses and ailments.
So what exactly should you be eating for quality shut eye? Try some of these foods in the evening before bed to help promote a restful and sound nights sleep.
- Oily fish – fish like salmon has a high content of vitamin B6 which the body uses to make melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone.
- Complex carbs – Complex carbs like basmati rice or sweet potato help fill the stomach and keep blood sugar levels stable which promotes healthy sleep.
- Natural yoghurt – The high calcium content of yoghurt makes it the ideal before bed dessert as healthy calcium levels can be attributed to restful sleep.
- Bananas – Rich in potassium, bananas also contain plenty of B6 to upp your melatonin levels.
- Almonds – Almonds are packed full of magnesium which helps muscles to relax, essential when trying to fall asleep.