foods to help improve your sleep

I love my sleep, waking up fresh and ready to attack my day.  However, to ensure I do drift off easily and maintain a deep sleep throughout the night I am mindful to include specific foods into my diet.  Most of the foods I include to improve my sleep contain high amounts of tryptophan.  Tryptophan is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be part of the diet.  Amino acids, including tryptophan, act as building blocks in protein biosynthesis.  Tryptophan is a biochemical precursor for serotonin and niacin.
Foods To Improve Your Sleep
Turkey or Chicken
Both are a great source of tryptophan which works as a precursor for the sleep inducing neurotransmitter melatonin.
Melatonin helps the body regulate circadian rhythms and is needed for deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Nuts & Seeds
Brazil, almond, cashew and seeds all contain magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant.
Warm milk contains tryptophan and also calcium which is great for the nerves.
Contains calcium, magnesium and tryptophan which effectively work together to produce sleep hormones.
Our sleep hormone – melatonin is found in oats.
A good bowl of lightly cooked porridge at dinner instead of a heavy dinner could work wonders.
They are quick and easy to prepare and light on the digestion.
Pasta & Rice
A small handful of these carbohydrates combined with tryptophan foods (chicken, turkey, milk and yogurt) aid the uptake of tryptophan by the brain.
Soy products
Tofu and soybean nuts contain tryptophan and are excellent sources of calcium.
Split peas and lentils offer a fibre and protein rich source of tryptophan. Lentil soup is delicious and light.
Great snack before bedtime as they are a fantastic source of melatonin.
Bananas are a great source of potassium and tryptophan.  Potassium assists with producing deep, slow-wave sleep.
Other Tips to Improve Sleep
For our body to produce enough melatonin needed for a good night’s sleep, we must firstly produce enough serotonin (happy hormone) during the day with at least thirty minutes of daily exercise and happiness.
A good long soak in a hot bath with some Epsom salts will offer your body magnesium and help relax your muscles.
Burning a few drops of relaxing Lavender and Ylang Ylang essential oils will also help waft you into a relaxing mood.
What food do you find improves your sleep?elated articles

tips for avoiding jet lag

Travel Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag

I try to prepare my body before a long distance flight with light, easy to digest nutritious food and practice as much de-stressing as I can with lots of yoga, swimming and walking.  The picture for this post is taken just as we prepare for touch down back into Australia. It’s my favourite part of my trip as the flight is nearly over and I find it so magical seeing the rising of our beautiful sun through the clouds.  The list seems slightly extreme but I’ll do anything to try to avoid jet lag!

Before my flight:

I try to get 8 hours sleep each night for at least 3 nights before my flight.

I take evening primrose oil, vitamin E and B6 as they may help keep my blood thin and avoid blood clots.

To calm my nervous system I love magnesium, calcium and B complex.

While on the plane:

I keep my meals light on my digestive system.  I enjoy chicken, fish, vegetarian options, veggies and salad. Always avoiding processed foods and wheat.

To prevent dehydration I continually drink as much water as possible and avoid coffee, tea and fruit juices.

I always indulge in a glass of wine which makes even cattle class luxurious.

I stretch, move and practice yoga as much as possible to aid circulation and regularly do foot exercises.

Melatonin tablet to induce sleep and alleviate jet lag.  Melatonin is a hormone produced in our pineal gland of the brain.  It has been postulated that fluctuations in melatonin play a role in jet lag and sleep disorders.

I avoid make-up when flying to allow my skin to breathe.  I continually apply Australian Bush Flower Travel Essences moisturizer and mist to prevent my skin drying out and help keep me balanced.

I take as little as possible on the plane with me as a heavy load can add to the fatigue and frustration of jet lag.

A good book that I have already started to read before the trip and can’t put down.

Magazines – I love catching up on the latest food, fashion, gossip and interior design.

I practice several meditations to calm and clear my mind.

Tightness in my muscles – I adore Jivamukti China Gel.  The most powerfully relaxing deep heat I’ve ever found.

I swear by Australian Bush Flower Travel Essences to help my body clock adjust.

On arrival:

A long hot bath, preferably with lavender oil, Epsom salts, candles and a joss stick.

Yoga, meditation and Melatonin just before bed.

A steaming hot cup of delicious loose leaf organic chamomile tea.

Simple Miso and/or vegetable soup.

Avoid bread, processed foods and all caffeine drinks.

While away:

Heaps of delicious local produce. I find there is nothing better for feeling grounded and getting to know your surroundings than exploring your destination to find nutritious food.

Magnesium to assist with relaxation of muscles.

Spirulina for enough energy to keep up with all the antics.

What do you do to avoid jet lag?