Insomnia? What to eat in the evening to get back to sleep

The pandemic, the lookdown, smartworking, the reorganization of the family, uncertainty at work, are all factors that for a year now belong to our daily life and certainly do not help in favor of quality of our sleep. This tiring normality has greatly increased the onset of insomnia. How can we balance our sleep?

The link between sleep and nutrition is very strong. Often and gladly our incorrect eating habits worsen the quality of sleep; if we then add the sedentary lifestyle and the numerous stress factors, we seriously jeopardize our organism. Let us be guided by the advice of the Dr. Giorgia Arosio, Nutritionist Biologist of Babaco Market, service of delivery of seasonal fruit and vegetables, removed from large-scale distribution for children cosmetic defects. According to the Doctor’s analysis, it is essential to have correct habits to reconcile and promote a better quality of sleep.


Start the day with one healthy and complete breakfast positively influences the brain and metabolic function of the organism. Not only that, it improves overall nutritional intake and sleep quality. The ideal breakfast should include one source of natural whole grains, fresh and dried fruit, a portion of milk or plain yogurt or plant-based alternatives fortified in calcium, unsweetened, and a source of liquids such as green tea or barley coffee.


Schedule meals at the same times, helps to regulate the circadian rhythm and therefore to promote a better sleep-wake cycle. It would therefore be advisable not only to wake up and fall asleep at approximately the same time (including holidays), but also to have a certain regularity in the consumption of main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).


Consume most of the energy intake between breakfast and lunch favors an improvement of circadian parameters. Also, one light dinner and eaten early decreases the risk of gastric acidity and obesity, improving rest. It is therefore essential to avoid large meals in the evening and avoid consuming foods that require very long digestion times. Foods richer in fat such as fries, dips, sweets, but also sausages and aged cheeses, are more difficult to digest and should be avoided at dinner. Finally, also i cooking methods they affect the digestion times of food. The techniques to be preferred are the simplest ones and without the addition of fat: steamed, grilled, grilled, baked or baked in foil.


For those suffering from sleep disorders, drinks containing caffeine and other stimulating nerve substances should be limited, especially in the late afternoon / evening. It is therefore better not to consume coffee, tea, cola, energy drink and similar after 2pm. Alcohol is also the enemy of good sleep, therefore its consumption should be avoided or at least reduced to a minimum, especially in the evening. Drink in the evening relaxing herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, mallow, valerian and passionflower, on the other hand, it can help to induce sleep.


There melatonin it is a hormone that helps regulate the circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle. To produce melatonin, our brains need tryptophan, the magnesium and B vitamins (in particular B6, B9 and B12), nutrients that we must regularly take with a healthy and balanced diet. The foods that contain these nutrients in the greatest quantities are i legumes (such as beans, chickpeas and lentils), oleaginous nuts (especially almonds, walnuts and cashews), whole grains, green leafy vegetables (such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes), and animal origin (fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products), the latter being the only food sources of the vitamin B12.


Carbohydrates have a relaxing ability as they carry tryptophan to the brain, where it can be transformed into melatonin. However, it is important to choose whole carbohydrates, which maintain a low glycemic load of the meal and provide more magnesium and fiber, which are also positively correlated to a more regenerating sleep.

We have seen the very close link that exists between sleep, nutrition and correct habits to be put into practice for regenerated and quality nights. Good rest is a topic of strong interest as well Theresa Schnorbach, a sleep expert from Emma, unveiled the top 10 foods that contain the amino acid that helps induce sleep. On the podium we have cow’s milk, kiwis and sour cherries.


The grandmother’s remedy for pampered and relaxed children. Cow’s milk contains a high concentration of natural tryptophan in addition to melatonin and is even more effective in its “night” version, ie if milked after dusk, with active ingredients greater than that extracted in broad daylight.


Kiwis can greatly improve sleep quality when taken an hour before bed and in a manner regular every night for a month.

Sour cherries

The sour cherries boast a high level of melatonin, which promotes longer sleep and reduces nocturnal awakenings. Owns property antioxidants and anti-inflammatories considered good allies of rest.


Bananas are an excellent ally for a good night’s sleep: they contain serotonin, melatonin and are rich in magnesium, an important aid in the relaxation process of the muscles.


Eggs are considered a food to be consumed preferably at dinner time. I am a food very digestible, contain proteins and tryptophan, an essential amino acid.


Carbohydrates support the increase of tryptophan levels in the blood, facilitating relaxation and consequently rest. It is preferable to consume them four hours before going to bed.


Chicken like the turkey, is one of the foods that promotes the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, the hormones of sleep.


Beans are an excellent “goodnight food“. Being rich in folate and tryptophan, they are a very good remedy for sleep disorders.


Hazelnuts and dried fruit in general are rich in melatonin and regulate the sleep cycle. It is important to know that they always go eaten in moderation.

Green leafy vegetables

Let’s talk about the best antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables are perfect for those with poor digestion. It is recommended to consume them as evening meal so as not to burden the stomach and facilitate a better sleep. The foundations for a regenerating sleep come right from the table. We assemble the recommended foods with light cooking and different textures. We give rise to two dishes: the recipes for good rest that are the perfect answer to “what to eat in the evening to sleep well?”.

Terrine with potato and chard cream, poached egg, wholemeal bread and hazelnuts

More than a dish, it is a complete dinner. We have two separate preparations but a single dish that contains carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins. The doses indicated are for the realization of two single-portion terrines. Let’s start the first preparation by boiling a nice bunch of beets and three potatoes large, peeled, coarsely cut. At the end of cooking, drain and sauté in a pan adding a leek cut into thin slices and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cook for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a deep container and blend it with a blender, incorporating slowly 50/80 ml of cow’s milk and continue to blend until you have a creamy mixture. Pour it directly into the bowls with which you will serve it on the table. The second preparation consists in the poaching egg. Take two small concave containers, place a sheet of food film inside each one and let the edges come out on the outside. At this point, open the eggs and place them inside. Close the foil and seal it with a string. Immerse them in boiling water and let them cook for 5 minutes. At the end of cooking, with the help of a ladle, take the bags. Open them carefully and pour them into the center of the bowls with the base of cream of potatoes and chard. Add the hazelnuts, a few pieces of toasted wholemeal bread, Chia seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve the dish strictly hot.

Savoy cabbage rolls with chicken with herbs and dried tomatoes

It is a dish light and tasty with a fragrant filling. For this recipe I recommend using the innermost cabbage leaves, i.e. the heart, the most tender part. Boil the separate leaves, in salt water, for about 10 minutes. They need to soften but not too much. Drain and let cool. Chop the rosemary, fresh marjoram and breaded with these herbs the slices of chicken cut thin. Take a pan and cook them over high heat for a few minutes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Start composing the rolls: a cabbage leaf, a chicken slice and a dried tomatoes in oil. Roll up the rolls and close them with a small food string. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of oil. Bake for 15 minutes at 200 °. It is a dish that can be proposed as an appetizer or as a second course.

The recipes and images in this article were created by Giorgia Dessì. For more tips and ideas, follow his Instagram page @unoscattoatavola

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