Eat right, sleep tight

By Donna Fleming

The key to getting a good night’s sleep could be as simple as eating a handful of nuts and drinking a glass of milk just before bedtime.

US scientists who studied the diets and sleep patterns of more than 4500 people found that certain minerals and acids in food and drink can help us to sleep more soundly.

Their research suggests eating some Brazil nuts and washing them down with a glass of milk is one of the best things you can do to guarantee a good sleep, thanks to the selenium and potassium in the nuts, and the calcium in the milk.

The study, conducted by Pennsylvania University, found that people who doubled their daily intake of selenium were 20% less likely to have trouble dropping off to sleep.

Meanwhile, increasing the amount of calcium you have in a day can increase your chances of sleeping well by 17%.

Milk also contains vitamin D and two substances – butanoic and dodecanoic acids – that are linked with unbroken sleep.

They also concluded that people who increased the calcium in their diets were less likely to feel tired the next day, as were those who made an effort to eat more potassium-rich foods (such as bananas).However, not all dairy foods help with sleep. Researchers found that two fats commonly found in butter and cheese are linked with poor sleep patterns. Eating lots of salt and drinking lots of fluids can also lead to disturbed slumber.

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