If you’re suffering from sleepless nights and have tried our tips like blackout blinds, room temperature and of course gorgeous bedding, perhaps it’s time to start looking at how you’re nourishing your body. Sleep is one of nature’s best medicines, but going without it can be one of the most stressful things to impact your body and the human system.
We’ve teamed up with top nutritionist Caroline Keighley and www.amaranth-wellbeing.com. They offer some straightforward advice on food for sleep (what to have and what to avoid) and have created some exclusive delicious recipes to help you sleep lovers out there get those much needed zzz’s. Each of the recipes contain super-star ingredients so why not give them a try?
Recipes for sleep
Chia seeds are full of good fats that support brain function and bananas are loaded with tryptophan which can promote the sleep hormone melatonin. Great for a dessert or as a quick snack (serves 1)
1 ripe banana
100mls of coconut milk
2 tbsp. chia seeds
Place the banana and the coconut milk in a blender and blitz for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Stir every few minutes for 10 minutes. Leave in the fridge until set. This can be done the night before.
Goji Berry and Mint soup
100g (3 ½ oz.) dried goji berries
1tbsp olive oil
2 beef tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
600mls (1 pint) vegetable stock
1tbsp mint leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish.
Wash the berries and soak in water for a few minutes to re-hydrate them. Saute the shallots in the oil for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and goji berries. Stir for a few minutes before adding the stock. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the mint leaves and remove from the heat. Blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Serve garnished with extra mint leaves.
Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Turkey is a good source of Tryptophan (which helps to create the sleep hormone Melatonin) and its absorption is enhanced with the carbohydrate from the pasta. A great evening meal after a hard day’s work (serves 4).
600g turkey mince
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic
1tsp. of paprika
1tbsp. coconut oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 sticks celery, finely diced
10g chopped fresh coriander
2tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 x 400g cans of tomatoes
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas Mark 4
Place the mince, half the onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, coriander, paprika and eggs into a bowl. Mix together with your hands and add in some salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 3 cm balls and set aside in the fridge.
Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the rest of the onion, crushed garlic and celery, sauté with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, a pinch of salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
Take the meatballs out of the fridge and place in a roasting tin, pour over the tomato sauce. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with whole-wheat pasta or gluten free alternative.
Ingredients to avoid
Eating foods that you are sensitive to can cause sleepless nights. You may not realise you have a sensitivity, but things like food colourings, artificial sweeteners and flavour enhancers such as MSG can stimulate the nervous system and cause wakefulness. By eating a wholesome diet and limiting processed foods, staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night should become thing of the past.
Magnesium is nature’s “tranquiliser” and if you’re under stress it can be depleted. Magnesium is well absorbed through the skin. Try relaxing in a bath of magnesium flakes or Epsom salts in the evening and you will be in for sweet dreams.
Having too many sweet treats or refined carbs can unbalance your blood sugar and cause night time waking. Look at making healthier treat swaps and swapping white carbs for brown.
Caroline is a Nutritional Therapist who gained her qualification at the highly respected College of Naturopathic Medicine. Her studies have given her a deep understanding of the fine balance of nutrients our bodies need to maintain good health and wellbeing. Caroline can be contacted at www.nutritionalneeds.co.uk