If you’re a woman over 40, you know all too well how much getting quality sleep can affect your overall energy and mood. It is estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of sleeping disorder, and women are particularly vulnerable. Struggling to get those much needed ZZZs can lead to poor concentration during the day, which can easily snowball into health issues such as mental fatigue, weakened immune systems, and even depression.
So if you’re in this age group and having trouble nodding off – it’s time to take action. You need better nutrition for better sleep! But it may surprise you to learn that certain nutrients play an important role in helping promote better sleep.
Making sure you are getting enough essential nutrients for better sleep is an important part of maintaining your overall health and well-being. In this post, we will explore 6 key nutrients that have been shown to support the body at night so you can wake up feeling rested and renewed.
6 Nutrients For Better Sleep
When it comes to nutrition, much of the focus highlight the timing of our food and beverage intake around bedtime. There is no doubt that meal timing can impact our rest, but quality nourishment is equally important for more sound shut eye. Some nutrients that help support better sleep include:
- Magnesium may help with sleep regulation and reduce tiredness during the day. This mineral can be found in pumpkin and chia seeds, almonds, cashews, and spinach.
- Vitamin D, aka the sunshine nutrient, supports our sleep-wake cycle. While it’s more easily absorbed via natural sunlight, it can be obtained from salmon, trout, fortified milk, and eggs.
- Melatonin is the natural hormone produced in the body that is easily influenced by light and potentially the counterpart to Vitamin D. More specifically phytomelatonin can be found in foods like cherries, asparagus, cabbage, walnuts, kidney beans, oats, and olive oil.
- Resveratrol is a nutrient that has benefits for heart health, but it may play a role in the sleep-wake cycle as well. This nutrient can be found in grapes, red wine, peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp may relieve stress before sleep without creating the high-like effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While not an essential nutrient we need to get in, nourishing your endocannabinoid system may be helpful for better sleep.
- Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that may reduce stress and anxiety to improve our sleep winddown routines. Get GABA by including kimchi, miso, tempeh, and teas, as well as other foods that can boost the body’s production of GABA-like brown rice, adzuki beans, chestnuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sprouted grains, and sweet potatoes.
We typically begin with a food first approach for nourishing better sleep, but there is a time and place for supplements. Keep in mind that dosage and quality are extremely important when choosing a natural sleep aid. If you’re interested in any of these in supplement form, let’s use this as an opportunity to evaluate your current eating patterns and discuss ways these could fill in the gaps for more sound sleep.
Foods To Limit Before Bedtime
- Caffeinated Beverages: Try limiting caffeinated beverages at least 3-6 hours before bedtime. Instead, enjoy an herbal tea like chamomile before bed and stay hydrated during the day with 1/2 – 1 oz. water per pound of body weight.
- Sugary or Fried Foods: Limit these foods at least 3 hours prior to sleeping. If you’re an athlete, eating recovery enhancing foods like lean proteins, tart cherries, nuts, and seeds can be beneficial before bed.
- Alcoholic Beverages: Limit alcoholic beverages to 1-2 nights per week – understanding that this will still impact sleep quality. However, staying hydrated throughout the day is a better choice for better sleep. Although alcohol may help you feel sleepy, it does disrupt your deep sleep and REM sleep cycles.
I hope these 6 nutrients help you get the sleep of your dreams! Believe me, I know how frustrating it is to not be able to sleep — I’ve been there! Magnesium, Vitamin D, Melatonin, Resveratrol, CBD, and GABA are all great nutrients to start with when trying to improve your sleep but as always, quality and quantity are key.
Make sure you’re getting enough of each one from food sources or high-quality supplements and I believe you’ll see a difference in how you feel day-to-day. Needless to say, a good night’s rest is crucial for optimal health so don’t skimp on those ZZZs!
You got this! Feeling rested is only a few tweaks away. Which of these nutrients will you add in first? Let me know in the comments below!
If you find that you need more personalized help, I offer a 3-Month Signature Coaching Package where we can work together to come up with a nutrition plan that works for you and your unique needs. Just fill out the contact form to apply for an Autoimmune Breakthrough Session and we’ll get started!
***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***