This is a guest post written by Sarah from The Sleep Advisor.
Sleep deprivation is a massive problem in today’s fast-paced world. We switch off the light but can’t seem to switch off the whirlwind of thoughts, worries and anxieties flying around our minds.
What is meant to be a relaxing time, a time for your body to rest and your mind to become calm, becomes quite the opposite. Your thoughts start churning, your mind keeps racing and you find yourself far from Sleepytown.
The result? Well, lots of problems, really. From obesity to heart disease, diabetes to depression – poor quality sleep has the power to unleash all kinds of afflictions.
Luckily, there’s a few measures you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep. First, check out what this blog is saying. Then come right back, because I’m going to share some tasty ways of getting your snooze on.
Since our diet impacts our sleep in a pretty strong way, I thought I’d share some recipes that’d have the best possible effect on our sleep cycle. Oh, and they’re vegan, too. Yay. 😉
Here are my top 3 vegan recipes for a sounder sleep…
Sweet Potato Wedges & Hummus
For a tasty, filling and sleep-enhancing snack in the evening, you can’t go wrong with this treat. Because whether you grow your own or buy them from the store, there’s something incredibly satisfying about the humble potato.
Sweet potatoes in particular should be a staple in your diet, especially if you have trouble sleeping. They’re filled with – yes, tastiness – but also complex carbohydrates. These keep you full all night and prevent a rumbling tummy from disturbing your snooze fest. Oh, and they have potassium in them, too. Sweet indeed!
By serving with tahini-laden hummus, you’re getting all the goodness from sesame seeds as well. These babies contain tryptophan, an amino acid that’s linked with aiding sleep. It does take an hour to kick in though, which is why I’d recommend it as an early evening snack.
How to make it: For the wedges, simply wash and slice a sweet potato into thick wedges, keeping the skin on. Spread them out over a baking sheet, sprinkle with pepper and a drizzle of coconut oil and bake in a pre-heated oven (200°C) for around 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Toss halfway through to keep from sticking and add a dash of balsamic vinegar with 5 minutes to go.
For the hummus, mix 1 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas with 1-2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 cloves of garlic and a generous squeeze of lemon. Blitz until smooth and serve on the side of your crispy wedges. Mmmm…
Cacao & Banana Ice-Cream
Good news – not only is this an absolutely delicious pre-bedtime treat, it can actually help you to get to sleep! Why? Well, cacao helps to produce serotonin – the ‘feel good’ hormone – and aids in relaxation.
Meanwhile, bananas are a source of magnesium and vitamin B6; both of which promote feelings of happiness and calm (there’s that serotonin again!) And, alongside magnesium, the potassium that stars in a banana’s make-up is actually a muscle relaxant – so eating ice-cream makes you feel calmer and physically relaxed. Is there anything it can’t do?!
How to make it: For 2 servings, simply blend 2 frozen bananas with 2 tablespoons of raw, unsweetened cacao powder. Use a dash of water if needed to help with the blending process. Note: Cacao does contain caffeine so you might want to use less than 2 tablespoons; feel free to experiment until you find what works for you!
This baby is like a big ol’ hug for your insides. Turmeric has been proved as having a whole heap of benefits. The sleep-related ones include the fact that it reduces your blood-sugar levels, boosts your immune system and eases your digestive system – all of which allow your body to relax into a deep slumber.
Combined with almond milk, you’ve got a winning formula. Because like bananas, almonds contain magnesium. This muscle relaxant also helps to produce serotonin, resulting in a relaxed body and a calmer mind. One, two, three, ahhhhhh…
How to make it: For 1 serving, combine 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk with 1 tsp each of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Optional: Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and a pinch of cloves. Allow to simmer over a medium-low heat for 15 mins and serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cheers.
So go on…next time you’re feeling peckish before bed but don’t want to disturb your sleep, why not give one of these recipes a try? You may just find your new favourite night-time treat – and a great sleep will be the icing on the cake.