A vegan diet has many benefits, with no downsides to your health. However, one of the most underappreciated and obscure benefits of veganism is how it helps with sleep deprivation. But how does this work? And what foods can help with my sleep schedule?
Plant-based diets can improve sleep quality as they often contain proteins with a high amount of amino acid tryptophan - a precursor to melatonin and serotonin. These two hormones significantly increase sleep quantity and sleep quality. Indeed, both melatonin and serotonin are hormones created by the body to regulate your sleep; melatonin focuses on maintaining a regular sleep schedule, whilst the effects of serotonin focus on the brain and memory. For example, a study by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Allison Crawford, and Brooke Aggarwal in 2018 conducted a test with an older man who was given a vegan diet and assessed the changes in his sleep. As the experiment continued, the older man showed signs of having better sleep quality and sleep fragmentation was much lower. To quote the research paper:
“We can hypothesize that sleep may not only impact cardiovascular disease risk directly but also via its influence on other lifestyle behaviors known to affect cardiovascular health adversely.”
So despite all the reasoning to how the science behind it works, what foods help to improve your sleep quality? Well, to start, here are five common foods that can help improve your sleep quality and duration:
The banana is one of the best options for this problem as it contains a variety of nutrients that can all help with your sleep problems. The banana contains a lot of melatonin and tryptophan, along with vitamin B6 and C. Melatonin, tryptophan, and vitamin B6 all help with the quality and quantity of sleep, while vitamin C helps with cardiovascular health, something important for good-quality sleep.
2. Brown Rice:
Rice is another great option to help with sleep, although it does not have as much help with sleep compared to the banana. However, because it is high on the glycemic index, the rice can greatly increase the amount of melatonin created in the body. Brown rice also has vitamin B6, which, as stated before, can help with sleep regulation.
Cherries is a delicious fruit that can help with increasing sleep quality and quantity. Not only does it help with the production of melatonin in your body, but it also includes vitamin C which can help with sleep quality.
Kale is an excellent choice for this as it includes vitamin B6, melatonin, and vitamin c, which boost the ability to sleep better. It also has other added benefits, such as vitamins A and K, which benefits your physical health and blood.
Almonds are a perfect choice when it comes to helping with sleep quality. Like everything else on this list, almonds contain a good amount of melatonin. One ounce of almonds can already be enough of the average daily melatonin intake; it also includes magnesium, which is known to have beneficial effects on sleep quality when consumed.
Those are just a few foods that can help with sleep; of course, there are many more, and you can make dishes with them. But this blog post was to help you with your sleep problems by going vegan, and hopefully, it can help you fix your sleep problems and help put you on the track to becoming vegan.
Written by: Ian Chan
Edited by: Kadence Wong