Foods that help you get to sleep

Munching on cheese before bedtime is bad, right? FFT’s resident nutrition expert begs to differ...

Cottage Cheese

Before you turn in for the night have a nibble on some cottage cheese. This dairy-based Night Nurse contains amino acids, which convert into melatonin and tell your brain it needs to prepare for night-time. “To sleep properly we need adequate amounts of melatonin in our system,” says Spurs’ nutritionist Matt Lovell.  

More after the break

Turkey

It’s no coincidence that Christmas dinner leaves you slumped on the sofa, drifting in and out of consciousness. Turkey contains L-tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid. “To build melatonin you need to eat plenty of tryptophan-rich foods,” says Lovell. “In the evening I advise players to eat protein rich sources of this amino such as turkey.”
 
Salmon

Sleep off a salmon supper and you'll be ready to boss the game in the morning, according to Lovell. "The healthy fats in fish boost levels of sleep-regulating melatonin," he says. Salmon also contains B6 vitamins, which help your body control sleep cycles and produce serotonin, which tells your brain it's time to relax.
 
Bananas

To avoid any slip-ups on the pitch, chow down on a banana before your pre-match snooze. This super sleep fruit contains melatonin, serotonin, magnesium and potassium – a quartet of natural muscle relaxants. “Bananas contain a lot of natural sources proven to encourage sleep. It’s arguably the most important sleep food,” says Lovell.
 
Brazil nuts

Packed full of essential mineral magnesium, these crunchy sleeping pills “relax blood vessels while lowering blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol,” says Lovell, helping you get some undisturbed shuteye and unlocking your inner samba skills (you never know...).

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