Nutritionist Lee Holmes shares her ultimate guide to get a good night’s sleep

Adella Miesner

A nutritionist has shared the ultimate guide to a good night’s sleep – including turning your bedroom into a sanctuary and avoiding spicy food before bed. Cookbook author Lee Holmes, from Sydney, revealed the key things troubled sleepers should do every day – and the ‘sleep-enhancing’ ingredients to eat or […]

A nutritionist has shared the ultimate guide to a good night’s sleep – including turning your bedroom into a sanctuary and avoiding spicy food before bed.

Cookbook author Lee Holmes, from Sydney, revealed the key things troubled sleepers should do every day – and the ‘sleep-enhancing’ ingredients to eat or drink.

Besides recharging for a new day, the nutrition couch said not getting enough shut eye can impact our brain, mood, metabolism, hormones and appetite.

‘We all know we need sleep, so if it has become a problem for you, maybe now is a good time to prioritise it,’ she explained in her latest blog post. 

‘Rest is a massive piece in the puzzle of health and is vital for our brains, immune system, digestive system and ability to function as a human being.’ 

Nutritionist Lee Holmes (pictured) has shared the ultimate guide to a good night’s sleep 

The ‘sleep-enhancing’ ingredients to eat

  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds 
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Chocolate
  • Vitamin B6 such as chicken, turkey and fish
  • Oats
  • Pumpkin
  • Fish
  • Tart cherry juice 

To get started, Lee advised you need to get on top of your sleep hygiene to ensure you get at least eight hours of shut eye per night.

She suggested creating a ‘calming’ night-time routine like taking a warm bath or shower, writing or drawing in a journal, meditating or deep breathing, listening to music or reading a book to wind down completely before bed.

Lee said your room should always be a place for rest, and nothing else.

‘Your room should be your sanctuary. Let me repeat that: your bedroom should be your sanctuary. Stop doing work on your bed! Before bed, your room should be pitch black, at a cool temperature and as quiet as possible,’ she suggested.

For dinner, the founder of Supercharged Food explained your meal should include foods with a low GI, combined with protein and healthy fat.

GI – or glycaemic index – is a way of ranking carbohydrate-containing foods based on how slowly or quickly they are digested and increase blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have a higher glycaemic index. These high GI carbohydrates, such as a baked potato, release their glucose into the blood quickly.

Lee suggested eating a ‘whole and balanced meal’ filled with non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower, ‘your favourite protein’ and some avocado can help ‘keep you full and satisfied, without feeling overstuffed’.

‘Avoid foods that are super spicy and rich, overly fatty and stimulating, especially before bed,’ she said.

'Your room should be your sanctuary': Lee said your room should always be a place for rest

‘Your room should be your sanctuary’: Lee said your room should always be a place for rest

For a daily mineral intake, Lee said her go to is magnesium as it helps support the ‘health of the nervous system, musculoskeletal system and digestive system’.

‘It also produces specific neurotransmitters that regulate our stress and sleep response,’ she said.

She said you should always avoid eating spicy food before bed time (stock image)

She said you should always avoid eating spicy food before bed time (stock image)

She pointed out many are magnesium deficient so she eating magnesium-rich food such as nuts and seeds, bananas, avocado, spinach and beans.

To up your intake of vitamin B6, she suggested eating poultry such as chicken or turkey, oats, bananas, pumpkin and even fish.

‘Chicken and turkey are great for sleep. Both chicken and turkey contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps make serotonin, causing a relaxing mood, which then helps produce melatonin,’ she said.

‘Fish is another source of vitamin B6, giving your body the heads up that it’s time to produce melatonin and get sleepy.’

If you’re still struggling to fall asleep at night, Lee suggested drinking tart cherry juice because it will help support healthy bacteria in the gut.

‘Current clinical research is discovering that tart cherries can increase our time asleep and sleep efficiency. Tart cherry juice helps regulate our circadian rhythm (our sleep-wake cycle) and is also a potent antioxidant. Drink up,’ she explained.

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