We all have our little routines designed to help us get to sleep at night. For some people, it’s drinking a glass of warm milk before going to bed. For others, it’s a cup of tea and a hot bath while listening to some soothing tunes. Unfortunately, when you’re about to kick-start a three-night camp or are travelling halfway around the world, you’re probably not going to be able to conduct your bedtime ritual like usual.
The good news is that just because you can’t have everything you might want for a great night’s sleep while travelling, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to improve your slumber. There are plenty of great foods out there that can boost your chances of getting a restful night – and they’re easy to take on the go. Here are five foods for better sleep:
1. Almonds and walnuts
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are particularly handy snacks when you’re travelling. These foods are easy to carry with you in a little pouch and they’re not going to make a mess. As well as being an easy way to fill your stomach, walnuts and almonds offer other benefits too. Walnuts are a good source of tryptophan and melatonin – both substances that will help you get to sleep. Tryptophan interacts with vitamin B to create niacin, which also produces serotonin, making you feel happier. Melatonin controls sleeping and waking patterns, regulating the things that help to put us to sleep.
Almonds also contain magnesium, which is great for reducing headaches (common among frequent fliers). Additionally, studies show that people with low magnesium often wake up frequently during the night so adding almonds to your routine could be great for sustaining sleep.
2. Dairy products
You’ve probably heard before that there are dangers to eating cheese before bed, but the truth is that dairy products can actually be good for your slumber. Dairy products like cheese, milk, and even yoghurt are brimming with tryptophan. Since tryptophan needs something extra to make it work better, like carbohydrates, it’s good to know that dairy products are packed with those too.
The key to success is making sure that you pick a dairy product that isn’t too high in calories as well as something that your airline is going to feel comfortable allowing you to bring onto the plane. Maybe try asking for yoghurt with your meal.
3. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are one of those foods that you probably won’t be able to find much of in packed meals during travel. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t stock up before you start your journey. A nice green smoothie made with vegetables like lettuce, kale, and spinach is a great way to get in some extra calcium – critical for making tryptophan work.
Wild lettuce also contains a substance called lactucarium, which many people believe to have healing as well as sedative properties. On top of all that, leafy greens are usually quite easy to eat and digest, so you won’t have to worry about gaining too much holiday weight.
As a community, vegans are growing in number, so always know that there will be options available to you:
4. Cherries and bananas
Not all kinds of fruit are great for sleeping while you travel, as they can contain large amounts of natural sugar. However, cherries and bananas are an excellent choice. Drink a glass of natural cherry juice or eat a handful of cherries before you travel. To better manage your sleep/wake cycle, choose tarter cherries that generally contain more melatonin.
Bananas are a more affordable fruit alternative to bring with you on the go. They’re a wonderful source of vitamin B6 and potassium, which are both known to be important for making melatonin and inducing sleep.
5. Honey and grains
If you can get your hands on a homemade protein bar before your next trip, make sure it’s packed full of honey and grains. Honey raises insulin levels which directs tryptophan towards your brain. According to Sleep Report, honey is also good to help you drift off to a good night’s sleep. Additionally, you can even take honey in the form of sweetener for your tea. Finally, whole grains like barley, bulgur, and other options are rich in magnesium. This means that you’re more likely to stay asleep for longer when you drift off. Happy sleeping!