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Can your diet affect your sleep health?

Can your diet affect your sleep health?

Are you getting enough sleep? A study by health insurer MBF claims that almost half of Australian adults aren't, with the average Aussie spending only seven hours in the Land Of Nod - below the seven to nine recommended by the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep.

Alarmingly, the cross-section of those aged 35 to 44 got the fewest hours of sleep, drifting away for just 6.4 hours.

Eat for sleep

Could diet choices be at play when it comes to Australia's relative poor sleep habits? Possibly. According to an article published by the Sleep Health Foundation, what you include in your daily diet, as well as when you eat, can markedly affect the quality and length of your sleep. Of course, it goes without saying that by eating a nutritious diet, your overall wellbeing will be in finer fettle, and, because you'll have more energy during the day, sleep health will be better in the evening.

However, you should try to avoid eating too closely to bedtime - try to leave a gap of at least two hours. This is because your brain will send signals to your stomach to digest the recently eaten food, meaning that you'll become more awake. On the flipside, you shouldn't go to bed hungry, as you'll find yourself lying in bed uncomfortable and the sleep unsatisfactory. If you really must eat, have something small, such as an apple or cereal bar, or perhaps a piece of fruit.

Could diet choices be at play when it comes to Australia's relative poor sleep habits? Possibly.

Sleeping fruity

Which foods in particular can help you to sleep a little better? Well, according to sleep researcher Dr Charli Sargent, eating foods replete in an amino acid known tryptophan can markedly help you to sleep - that's because it is used by the brain to coordinate the human sleep cycle. So in which foods can tryptophan be found?

The number one source of tryptophan is also one of our favourite choices of bedtime beverages - milk. Other dairy products, such as yoghurt and cheese, are also full of tryptophan, as is poultry such as turkey. Indeed, Dr Sargent says that the bird commonly eaten at Christmas could be just the reason why many of us fall asleep in front of the television on Christmas Day - all that tryptophan! 

"By eating carbohydrate-rich foods we increase the ratio of tryptophan to other amino acids and that promotes the entry of tryptophan into the brain, and then the next step is serotonin and promoting sleep," said Dr Sargent, to ABC'S Health and Wellbeing section.

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Can your diet affect your sleep health?

The average Australian is not getting enough sleep, and factors in our diet could be at play. Here are a few foods that may help send you off the Land of Nod.

Are you getting enough sleep? A study by health insurer MBF claims that almost half of Australian adults aren't, with the average Aussie spending only seven hours in the Land Of Nod - below the seven to nine recommended by the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep.

Alarmingly, the cross-section of those aged 35 to 44 got the fewest hours of sleep, drifting away for just 6.4 hours.

Eat for sleep

Could diet choices be at play when it comes to Australia's relative poor sleep habits? Possibly. According to an article published by the Sleep Health Foundation, what you include in your daily diet, as well as when you eat, can markedly affect the quality and length of your sleep. Of course, it goes without saying that by eating a nutritious diet, your overall wellbeing will be in finer fettle, and, because you'll have more energy during the day, sleep health will be better in the evening.

However, you should try to avoid eating too closely to bedtime - try to leave a gap of at least two hours. This is because your brain will send signals to your stomach to digest the recently eaten food, meaning that you'll become more awake. On the flipside, you shouldn't go to bed hungry, as you'll find yourself lying in bed uncomfortable and the sleep unsatisfactory. If you really must eat, have something small, such as an apple or cereal bar, or perhaps a piece of fruit.

Could diet choices be at play when it comes to Australia's relative poor sleep habits? Possibly.

Sleeping fruity

Which foods in particular can help you to sleep a little better? Well, according to sleep researcher Dr Charli Sargent, eating foods replete in an amino acid known tryptophan can markedly help you to sleep - that's because it is used by the brain to coordinate the human sleep cycle. So in which foods can tryptophan be found?

The number one source of tryptophan is also one of our favourite choices of bedtime beverages - milk. Other dairy products, such as yoghurt and cheese, are also full of tryptophan, as is poultry such as turkey. Indeed, Dr Sargent says that the bird commonly eaten at Christmas could be just the reason why many of us fall asleep in front of the television on Christmas Day - all that tryptophan! 

"By eating carbohydrate-rich foods we increase the ratio of tryptophan to other amino acids and that promotes the entry of tryptophan into the brain, and then the next step is serotonin and promoting sleep," said Dr Sargent, to ABC'S Health and Wellbeing section.

Can your diet affect your sleep health?
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