5 Superfoods For Better Sleep
Organic Traditions Blog

5 Superfoods For Better Sleep

by Vickie Chin on Jul 20, 2020

By now we should all know how important sleep is...right? I think we sometimes forget that sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health. No matter how ‘clean’ your diet is or how many hours are spent in the gym or doing IG live workouts - it can all be for nothing if you’re not getting adequate sleep! Today we’re talking about the benefits of sleep and exploring a few natural remedies to improve the quality of your sleep, which you guessed it, includes certain superfoods!

First, let’s talk about how getting enough quality sleep can positively impact your life:

  • Adequate sleep can help you lose weight! Many studies have found that when sleep goes down, weight tends to go up. One reason for this is because a lack of sleep reduces the production of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite and encourages the body to use energy. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin and therefore can result in increased appetite during waking hours. 
  • You not only feel, but look, younger! Human growth hormone aka HGH is produced in larger amounts during sleep. It works to repair and refresh all of the cells in your body including your skin and muscles. HGH is also linked to an increase in the production of collagen, helping to keep your muscles strong and skin glowing. 
  • You get more out of your workouts! Ever heard of rest days? If you understand the importance of taking a rest day in between gym sessions, you should understand the importance of getting a good night’s rest after a workout. While you sleep, your muscles work to recover through protein synthesis while HGH (as mentioned above) is released into the body. 
  • Your brain and mind will thank you! Sleep is extremely important when it comes to mental cognition, concentration, memory and even productivity. People who are sleep deprived behave similarly to people who have consumed alcohol. A lack of sleep can also make us moody and irritable while impairing brain function. Getting adequate sleep can ensure that your brain cells are able to communicate effectively, leading to higher levels of concentration, faster response times and even a better mood!
  • Better overall health! At the end of the day, sleep is a vital part of life. Studies have linked adequate sleep to an overall increase in immune function and health. It’s also been shown that a lack of sleep can leave you more susceptible to health risks as serious as heart disease and as minor as catching a cold. 

All caught up on the importance of sleep? Wondering how you could improve your sleep beyond ensuring that you’re clocking in enough hours? Here are our 4 remedies for better sleep (after all, quality over quantity!):

  • Stick to a schedule: Try your best to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help your body regulate its internal clock which could result in you not only falling asleep faster and with ease but also staying asleep throughout the night.
  • Make it a ritual: Part of sticking to a sleep schedule can also include creating rituals for pre and post sleep. Pre sleep rituals can include turning off all technology and screens (blue light exposure is also linked to poorer sleep!), taking a bath, reading and journaling. Post sleep rituals could be not jumping to your phone as soon as your eyes are open and instead allowing yourself to slowly wake up, doing a light stretch, drinking a glass of water and setting intentions for the day.
  • Get regular exercise: Regular exercise has been linked to lower cases of insomnia. It has also been found that exercise can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by up to 55%! Not only is exercise great for sleep, but as mentioned above, sleep is also equally as great for your exercise routine!
  • Create the perfect environment: The perfect sleep environment definitely includes a comfortable mattress and the perfect pillows but it also can include the right temperature, reduced noise, minimal lights and even the layout of your furniture. It’s also recommended that you don’t sleep with devices like your phone, tv or laptop in the room - this is because they emit blue light which has been proven to mess up your body’s ability to prepare for sleep by blocking melatonin production (the hormone your body produces that makes you tired!).
  • Incorporate foods for better sleep: There are definitely some foods you should avoid before bed, like caffeine, but there are also many foods that can actually help you wind down and get ready for bed and even improve the quality of your sleep! These are 5 of our favourite superfoods for better sleep:
      1. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha helps to reduce the effects and symptoms of stress and anxiety, and as a result it can also help improve your quality of sleep. It’s even been linked to reduced cases of insomnia. Make an adaptogenic cacao latte or enjoy our Instant Chocolate Latte with Ashwagandha and Probiotics as a night cap.
      2. Holy Basil: Aka the queen of herbs, holy basil is an adaptogen that, like ashwagandha, can help reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. It’s even been shown to have antidepressant qualities. Like we’ve mentioned, reduced stress and anxiety results in better and more consistent sleep!  As a tea, this caffeine free elixir can help promote a sense of calm before bedtime and makes for a delicious and soothing addition to your nighttime ritual. 
      3. Almonds: Almonds actually contain melatonin, the hormone we produce that makes us sleepy and that regulates our sleeping and waking cycle. Feeling for a snack close to bedtime? Opt for some of our raw almonds!
      4. Ahiflower Oil with Holy Basil: This combo of plant based omega-3 fatty acids plus holy basil (which we mentioned above) is amazing for improving the quality of your sleep. Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate serotonin, the hormone that plays an important role in your sleep cycle. No matter the time of day, you’ll enjoy the benefits of this plant based omega-3 supplement. 
      5. Barley Grass: Barley grass is rich in GABA, calcium and magnesium - all of which help promote better sleep. Try incorporating this superfood into your daily smoothie or even add it to your water.