Eat your way to a good night’s sleep

Research by Sealy UK and Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit (CSRU) reveals that 77% of Britons are not getting a sufficient amount of sleep at night.

November 30th, 2017


Struggling to sleep at night? It may be time to embrace the vegan way of life. With the plant-based diet becoming more popular by the day, fuelled by celebrity advocates and social media health guru’s, could turning your back on a carnivorous lifestyle aid a good night’s sleep?

Many vegan foods contain high levels of sleep inducing chemicals; serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin, meaning that if you snack on them in the evening, it will have a positive impact on your quality of sleep. Neil Robinson, Sealy UK’s resident sleep expert, shares his top tips on which foods you could introduce into your diet to encourage a restful night’s sleep.

1) Kale

Calcium is a natural sleep aid, which is why a deficiency in your diet may make it difficult to fall asleep. Calcium contains tryptophan, the amino acid that your body uses to create melatonin - a hormone that helps induce sleep. Not gaining the mineral in dairy products needn’t be a worry as leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach are a perfect alternative for your daily calcium intake.

2) Bananas

Bananas are useful when battling insomnia due to their naturally high amount of amino acid, tryptophan. In addition to the sedative effects that this produces, bananas also contain high levels of magnesium and potassium which work to relax the muscles.

3) Almonds

If you find yourself reaching for a pre-bed snack, grab a handful of almonds. Like bananas, almonds contain both tryptophan and muscle-relaxant magnesium. Almonds always have a high protein content which will keep you feeling full all night.

4) Oats

Oats are great for keeping your heart healthy and also contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals that collectively work to encourage relaxation. As a natural source of melatonin - the hormone that regulates our sleeping and waking cycles, oats are guaranteed to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep. So why not try a bowl of milky porridge for supper?

5) Cherries

Like oats, cherries are extremely high in melatonin. In addition to promoting weight loss and being a delicious snack, cherries contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, which work alongside melatonin to help maintain a deeper sleep for longer.

6) Peanuts or peanut butter

Peanuts and peanut butter are high in niacin, a form of vitamin B3 which aids the production of serotonin - the hormone responsible for our moods. Rich in good fats, peanuts and peanut butter will keep you fuller for longer, meaning you won’t wake up hungry in the night. Watch out for brands that contain palm oil, as these are not suitable for a vegan diet.

7) Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea increases the levels of amino acid glycine in the body which causes our muscles to relax. Additionally, the anti-anxiety effects of glycine mean that chamomile tea is excellent for de-stressing. We’d recommend trying chamomile tea with a teaspoon of honey for that sweet kick.

8) Avocado

Due to its high magnesium content, avocado could be exactly what you need to drift off to sleep. Research shows that magnesium decreases levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone” which can increase irritability and therefore harm the quality of sleep.

For more helpful sleep advice and tips, visit


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