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Author: Floris Wouterson
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Thanks to these simple nutrition tips, you'll get a good night's sleep

Nutrition has a huge impact on your sleep. If you pay more (and the right) attention to your nutrition, you will sleep better. In this blog, we explain why nutrition is so important for a good night's sleep - and tell you exactly which foods can help you sleep better. This information may yet be an eye opener for you, so pay attention!

Did you know that good sleep and nutrition are inextricably linked? The right food makes you sleep better, deeper and above all more soundly, while unhealthy foods can keep you from sleeping. In addition, a good night's sleep also affects your eating habits: if you sleep less, it is harder to keep eating healthy. 

Your hunger hormones are regulated during sleep. An incorrect eating pattern can therefore be the cause of your sleeping problems. You also perform a lot better when you have a good eating pattern. If you do not eat properly, you will feel less fit during the day and sometimes even down. 

It all starts on your plate

So it's safe to say that sleeping well starts with what's on your plate. If you eat healthy, varied, high-quality food, you will see that your sleep quality improves. But what exactly should you eat? And what not to eat? 

Every food has its own positive and negative effects on your sleep. It is impossible to know the exact effects of each product. Nevertheless, by making a few (simple) adjustments to your diet, you can ensure that, thanks to better nutrition, you will sleep better.

Choose 'real' food

One of the most important steps is to always take your food choices seriously. You do this by choosing "real food. By this we mainly mean organic food, preferably coming straight from nature. These foods are usually grown without artificial fertilizers and artificial pesticides. 

In addition, organic food is produced without the addition of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colors and flavors. Prefer locally grown organic food because then you are eating from the season. This gives your food a much higher nutritional value. Moreover, this is better for the environment and the local community. 

'Real' food contains many more nutrients than processed food, as well as more minerals and 'trace elements' such as potassium, selenium or magnesium. You need these elements to sleep well. Just this change will benefit your sleep!

Why light products are bad

Another important point - besides your sleep - why it's better to choose real food is that the food industry regularly makes false promises. For example, by stating 'healthy' or 'conscious' on a label, when in fact it is not. Take light products like Coke Zero or "light peanut butter" as an example. 

Light peanut butter may contain 30 percent less fat, but at the same time it contains 450 percent more sugar. Cola Zero may contain no sugar, but it does contain aspartame. Just type in on Google: "aspartame unhealthy" and you will be shocked by the results. 

As for your sleep, aspartame belongs to the category of neurotoxins and one of its many side effects is that it makes you feel nervous. This makes it harder to fall asleep and also makes it harder to sleep deeply. So leave light products aside and go for real food. Then you never run the risk of having weird added substances.

Choose the right proteins and amino acids

Eating only "real" food is a very big step in the right direction. In addition, it is important to pay adequate attention to protein in your diet. The importance of the right proteins is unknown territory for many people, even though they are the foundation of a good night's sleep. After all, in order to sleep well, you need to get enough protein.

Proteins are the raw material for certain necessary hormones. Hormones are chemical substances that perform important functions in our bodies. You could also call hormones the traffic controllers in our bodies. For example, they are responsible for:

  • Maintaining your body temperature
  • The proper functioning of your reproductive organs
  • Determining your mood
  • Your sleep! And to be more precise: your sleep-wake rhythm

Serotonin and melatonin

The two main hormones that affect your sleep are serotonin and melatonin. These hormones are made by the body from amino acids. Proteins are built from amino acids - and so eating enough protein is important for a good night's sleep.

If you eat enough protein, you ensure that you get enough amino acids and your body can produce enough (sleep) hormones for a good night's sleep. If you sleep badly, it may be that your sleep hormones are not working properly or that you have too little of a certain sleep hormone. This is usually caused by a wrong eating pattern.

Essential amino acid tryptophan

If your diet is not in order, for example because you do not vary enough or eat too many processed foods, there is a chance that you are not getting enough of the essential amino acid tryptophan, for example. To return to the previous tip, by always eating "real" food, you can be sure that you are getting more protein and amino acids than if you eat a lot of processed foods.

The right amino acids such as tryptophan are mainly found in animal products such as beef, fish and cheese. Tryptophan cannot be produced by the body itself (so you must get it through your diet) and is essential for the production of serotonin and melatonin. 

If you are vegetarian, you can also get tryptophan through eating:

  • Spirulina
  • Cocoa (85 percent or more)
  • Soy
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Turnip greens
  • Chickpeas
  • Parsley
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Unprocessed nuts
  • Bananas

If you regularly eat the above products, then you can assume that you are getting enough tryptophan and that this hormone is also well absorbed by your brain.

Experiment with supplements

Finally, it can be valuable to experiment with using supplements. Some will work well, some a little and some not at all. Try it out over a longer period of time. Usually this is 10 days or longer, to assess whether a supplement has a positive effect on your sleep.

avatar About the author

Floris Wouterson

Author of the bestseller Superslapen, the first Dutch-language book with practical lifestyle principles for the best night's sleep ever.

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