Going vegan has many benefits. First, there’s the obvious ‘you’re not eating animals’, environmental factors and improvements to your health. On the latter, research has linked veganism with benefits such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. But there’s another advantage too, that could help you in everyday life. More specifically, your sleeping patterns. Thanks to the specific diet, veganism could be the key to a good night’s rest, according to Neil Robinson, who is the Chief Sleep Officer at bed and mattress manufacturer, Sealy UK. Serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin are found in many vegan foods, and these nifty chemicals are imperative in helping you snooze. Melatonin, a hormone that all humans produce, is sometimes also added into diets on its own as a medicinal supplement to help adjust the body clock when messing with sleeping patterns (like suffering heavy jet lag after a long flight). But this is in medicine format, so ask your doctor before you use it. But as Robinson points out, you can get a natural dose of these elements through foods that fits a vegan lifestyle. So, what should you be eating?
Kale: Remember a few years ago, when everyone was on the kale bandwagon? There was a reason (aside from the calorific benefits) and that was calcium; a natural sleep aid which contains tryptophan (an amino acid that helps create melatonin) – it’s a win, win, basically. No need for that glass of warm milk to lull yourself off to the dreamland, just have a bowl of kale or even spinach as an alternative to your calcium intake.
Bananas: Once again, lots of tryptophan, which by now you know is good for you. But, bananas also have high levels of magnesium and potassium, which in turn will help relax your muscles.
Oats:Healthy heart, happy life, right? Keep the ticker going strong by adding some oats to your breakfast bowl. With a variety of useful vitamins and minerals, the ingredient will encourage your body to loosen up and as a bonus, it’s also a natural source of melatonin.
Almonds: Tired of sleepless nights? Grab a handful of almonds and munch away. Similarly to bananas, you’ll get a boost of both tryptophan and magnesium, and thanks to the high protein levels, you’ll also stay fuller for longer. Just don’t overdo it, as almonds are also very high in (healthy) fats. According to Healthy Eating, 23 is the magic number, but others say 8-10; so it’s always best to check with a nutritionist before you go for that bowl of nuts.
Cherries: With an extremely high potency of melatonin and antioxidants such as anthocyanins, this combo could assist in keeping you in that zen-like deep sleep state for longer.
Peanuts and peanut butter: Peanuts and peanut butter contain niacin, a vitamin B3 that’ll aid with the production of serotonin. These two treats also high in good fats and similarly to almonds, will keep you nice and full. But keep an eye out for peanut butter products that also contain palm oil, which is damaging to the environment and also not part of a plant-based diet.
Chamomile tea: Have a cuppa before you get under the covers, and you’ll raise your levels of amino acid glycine, which’ll help your muscles relax. Chamomile is also said to have an anti-anxiety effect.
Avocado: Last but not least, there’s the ingredient that has become the buzz word for millennials everywhere, and disrupted the property market – the trusted avocado. Now, although according to some it’s not technically vegan (let’s ignore this and move on for now), it does contain lots of magnesium, which could decrease cortisol levels – also known as the stress hormone – and voilà, you’re sleeping better already.