Do you struggle to get a good night's rest? Kerry Torrens explains how a few diet changes can make all the difference...
Insomnia affects about a third of the UK population and, for a male client of mine in his late 40s, it was leaving him drained and unable to manage his business, adding to his already high stress levels.
After having a bowl of sugary cereal for breakfast, my client drank coffee throughout the day, had a sandwich for lunch and ate his main meal in the evening. He often caught up with paperwork or emails before going to bed.
My advice to this client was...
- Swap sugary cereal for a wholegrain alternative topped with milk and a sliced banana.
- Choose protein foods that are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. This helps boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts and seeds are all good choices.
- Combine these with rice, pasta or potatoes to help the body get the most benefits from tryptophan. Try a chicken and noodle stir-fry or similar. Drink warm milk with a cracker or oatcake before bed.
- Reduce your caffeine intake gradually. Try decaffeinated coffee or caffeine-free drinks like red bush tea.
- Build relaxation and exercise into the day to help manage stress.
- Avoid using a computer late in the evening as the light from the screen can have a stimulatory effect.
After a month, my client had made several diet and lifestyle changes, and his sleep quality had improved. However, his stress levels remained high, so I suggested that he visit his GP for this.
Do you have trouble sleeping or have you beaten insomnia by making changes to your diet? Let us know below.
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