According to Mental Health UK, 1 in 5 people in the UK aren’t getting enough sleep and a lack of quality sleep can lead to health problems such as lowered concentration, being more susceptible to illness and infection as well as contributing to the effects of anxiety and depression.
However, according to Panda London’s Sleep Expert Max Kirsten, there are some foods that can aid a better, more restful sleep. This is due to a multitude of benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, melatonin, and potassium.
Fruits that aid a better sleep
According to Kirsten, having one of these fruits before bed regularly will make a huge difference to your sleep:
Pineapples contain bromelain which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps with muscle relaxation, easing you into a gentle sleep.
Currently popping off on TikTok, cherries, particularly tart cherries, can be particularly beneficial for sleep. This is because they are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. According to Kirsten, consuming tart cherries or even tart cherry juice can help increase melatonin levels in the body which can potentially improve sleep quality and duration.
Kirsten recommends having some tart cherries just a couple of hours before bed to trigger the sleepy feeling that helps you to drift off.
Thanks to the magnesium and potassium in bananas, the fruit can help relax muscle and promote better sleep. Kirsten adds that, “anything that contains magnesium can encourage relaxation, the best thing about eating bananas before bed is the tryptophan they contain can encourage sleepiness and aid a deep, restful sleep.”
This is because Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a role in producing serotonin; a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation and mood regulation.
Speaking of serotonin, kiwis encourage higher levels of serotonin, which makes it ideal for just before bed. This is because you’ll find yourself more relaxed and, thanks to the vitamin C in kiwi fruit, the quality and duration of your sleep will be improved, too.
Of course, oranges are also a great source of vitamin C. Kirsten says that the natural sugars in oranges can provide a gentle energy boost during the day and may improve moods, making it easier to unwind before bedtime.
An unlikely everyday fruit perhaps but papaya is rich in both vitamins C and E, as well as folate and potassium. Potassium, of course, helps to relax muscles and eating foods like papaya can encourage a deeper, higher quality rest. The nutrients within potassium can relax muscles and lower blood pressure, making dropping off much easier.
Finally, good old apples contain fibre and natural sugars which stabilise blood sugar levels. This helps to prevent nighttime wakefulness as well as improving general mood and wellbeing.
If you continue to have sleep problems, speak to your GP for support.