12. Nutrition and supplements
In order to get good sleep, we need a good balance of the naturally produced sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system. Adequate amounts of vitamin B6 and tryptophan are needed to boost these hormone levels and they are found in chicken, cheese, tofu, tuna, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk. So drinking a glass of milk before going to bed can help to induce sleep. Other sleep-inducing foods are oats and lettuce. Avoid skipping breakfast as this is vital to stabilising your blood sugar levels and helping you to produce the Melatonin that will enable you to sleep later on. Make sure your breakfast includes a source of protein eg nut butter on your toast or ground almonds on your porridge.
Herbal nightcaps – it is best to resort to sleeping aids (natural or pharmaceutical) only as a last resort. They should be used when other avenues have been exhausted and then only occasionally. Valerian (tablets, tincture or tea bags) is sometimes called nature's Valium and can aid sleep for most people. Passionflower and hops also have mild sedative effects.