Home Rise and Shine Seasonal summer foods to benefit your sleep

4 mins.

29 June 2022

Seasonal summer foods to benefit your sleep

A good night’s sleep is something we all crave and need, especially after a busy or stressful day. However, many people do struggle with obtaining enough sleep, or sleeping undisturbed throughout the night. Sleep quality can be affected by the summer months due to interruptions by night sweats or overheating. Summertime sleep-related issues are said to affect around 33% of the British population, who are thought to be sensitive to sleep disturbances during this time. That being said, there are certain summer foods that are renowned for containing a lot of nutrients and vitamins that aid in improving sleep quality.



Summer foods are so named because they are at their peak during the summer and come into season during this time. This means that during other seasons, they may still be around, but will not be at their peak ripeness or have a very vast distribution. 



A lot of foods that are usually recommended for sleep contain nutrients like magnesium that specifically induce sleep or encourage relaxation through the promotion of melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone.’ According to several studies, there are specific foods you should eat before sleep that contain these nutrients or aid in production of melatonin or serotonin, improving your sleep quality and duration. 

Sleep-aiding summer foods

Cherries

Cherries are prominent in the summer, and can aid in inducing sleep. Eating cherries or drinking cherry juice before bed can help aid sleep because cherries help to increase melatonin, a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle and promoting good sleep. Melatonin helps get you to sleep quicker, which is why cherries are a good option when you’re searching for foods that make you sleepy fast.



A study by the ClevelandClinic states that “tart cherries have a small amount of both melatonin and tryptophan, an amino acid used in production of serotonin and melatonin.” Serotonin is a mood regulator that can help you to feel calmer and happier, which can aid in making you wind down and relax before you sleep. 

Bananas

Bananas are another type of fruit that could help you sleep. Not only do they contain high amounts of magnesium, a nutrient that can increase your sleep duration and reduce stress levels, they also contain high levels of potassium, which is another nutrient that promotes relaxation and a more restful sleep. There’s a reason why bananas are included in many lists of foods for sleep. What’s more, they make the perfect summer smoothie addition for a creamy yet healthy consistency. 

Why not try this healthy, added-sugar free banana bread? 

If you’re craving something sweet that won’t ruin your sleep, try out this banana bread recipe. Ingredients include:



  • Flour
  • Dates
  • Coconut Oil
  • Bananas 
  • Applesauce
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Toasted Walnuts


The ingredients in this particular recipe are beneficial for sleep and are also seasonal to summer. Dates are available all year round, bananas are in season during summer and are especially beneficial as they contain magnesium and potassium. Apples are seasonal to late summer and contain a lot of nutrients, as do coconuts. Cinnamon also helps to relax muscles and promote sleep, and walnuts or almonds are sources of melatonin, creating the ultimate sleep inducing combination! 



Visit My Darling Vegan’s website for the full recipe!

Chicken or tuna salads

Chicken, turkey, tuna and other lean meat and fish options are protein-rich foods that make a great addition to summer salads, which will help you to maintain a healthy diet and also improve your sleep. Protein-rich foods are some of the best foods you can eat for general health and wellbeing, as well as helping to improve sleep quality. According to Benenden Health, foods like turkey contain tryptophan, which induces a calming effect and reduces anxiety levels. 



Other tryptophan rich foods in the protein category include chicken, tuna, and a selection of nuts and seeds.

Summer food vs winter food

Based on the different seasons, you’ll want to switch up your diet to make sure you’re receiving all the important nutrients and foods to fuel your body. Some foods only grow or are more prominent in summer, and may be lacking in winter. Below are some recommendations on what you should eat according to the season and how you can switch up your summer diet for a winter one. 

What foods are popular in summer?

Some classic summer foods include water-based fruits such as watermelon, cucumber and citrus fruits, which are useful in helping to reduce dehydration. Some of the top 10 classic summer foods include leafy greens, fruit, vegetables, wild garlic, root vegetables, beans and pulses and potatoes. Each of these come with their own set of nutrients. 



You can also introduce drinks like coconut water, which is especially useful against dehydration and can help to cool you down and reduce heat stroke and other hot-weather +associated conditions. 

Which summer foods won’t help you sleep better?

Although these foods may be good for summer, they are not good to help you sleep. These include foods like watermelon which, although is good for hydration, contains a lot of sugar and water, which, if overeaten, is likely to keep you up all night with regular trips to the bathroom.



Also, although the refreshing nature of ice cream or ice lollies will help you to cool down in the summer heat, excessive consumption of both of these high sugar foods will give you an unwanted sugar buzz and cause you to stay awake a lot longer. Instead, opt for adding ice to a glass of water or smoothie to give you a refreshing and healthy alternative.

Recommended pre-sleep summer eating habits

Ditch the sugar 

Eating sugary foods, such as ice cream, before bed contributes to disturbed sleep, as sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, resulting in an unwanted sugar buzz and an impending bout of restless sleep.



During summer, fruit intake is high due to summer being the prime season for different fruits, as well as the dehydration-fighting benefits of some fruits that contain a lot of water, like watermelon. Fructose, which is the sugar commonly found in fruit, doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels as highly as glucose or sucrose, the sugar most commonly found in treats like chocolate.

Cut your portion sizes

It’s important not to eat straight before going to sleep, or eat heavy meals before bed, such as meals containing rich dairy products. Your body will struggle to digest them properly, which will result in disturbed sleep duration and quality. Instead, opt for a light snack that’s low in sugar if you’re suffering from late night peckishness. Snacks that can help you sleep include fruit, nuts and seeds or protein bars. The likes of cherries and almonds are seasonal to summer and include the all important sleep nutrient tryptophan. 



Be sure to check out these sleep products that can help to resolve your sleep issues, and also check out more of our guides for general tips and information about sleep and how to awaken your best. 



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