Sleep, glorious sleep. It seems everyone is after the secret for a cracking night’s slumber, and the answer could be easier than we ever thought. By getting clued up on the best foods for sleep, well-slept nights and better mornings can be ours as quick as you can say fruit & nut.
Read on to explore foods that are meant to support rest and rejuvenation as recommended by our sleep expert Dave Gibson, along with some snooze-worthy recipes to get you all relaxed and sleep-ready. Because with everything going on right now, losing sleep shouldn’t be something to worry about. And we always welcome an excuse to try something yummy…
Foods for sleep: an intro
If you can’t work out why you were restless all night after that 4-spice curry you ate recently, you’re not alone. Certain foods can actually have a sneaky impact on our sleep, from drifting off to not feeling rested or even staying asleep throughout the night. And with our lives at home and new routines to adjust to, it’s no wonder we’ve been eating and feeling out of kilter.
The best thing about eating well for sleep is that we don’t need fancy ingredients. All of Dave’s recommendations are easily accessible, simple to use and nourish us from the inside out, promoting optimal sleep. Explore them here.
According to Dave, “I often recommend eating as many different coloured fresh fruit and vegetables as possible each day. This will then typically supply a healthy range of essential vitamins and minerals as different coloured fruit and vegetables tend to have different nutrients.”
Top tip: While eating foods for sleep is key, timing is as important as what you gobble up. Dave recommends leaving at least two hours after dinner before bed, as part of a balanced daily routine. Read why we’re pro-routine or use our nifty routine calculator to plan an optimal day for optimal sleep. Easy.
Explore our snooze-worthy recipes 😴
Bedtime banana tea
There’s a reason we love bananas at eve. Not only are they delightfully bright and yellow like us, they’re also packed with three awesome nutrients for sleep – tryptophan, magnesium and potassium – which are thought to induce relaxation mode. That’s why this tea is ideal for sending us off into a sleepy paradise.
1 small pot of water
dash of cinnamon
- Put the pot of water on the hob until boiling.
- In the meantime, cut both ends off the banana and place it into the pan with its peel still on.
- Let the banana boil in the water for 10 glorious minutes until it’s deliciously soft. Then, using a colander, strain the banana tea into a hearty-sized mug.
- Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon into the tea and give it a stir.
- Sip, savour and enjoy an hour before bed while snuggled into your cosiest PJs
Sleeper’s fruit salad
Did someone say fruit & nut? This delicious concoction with natural yoghurt, cherries and walnuts contains a generous dose of antioxidants and melatonin, the sleep hormone. Don’t be afraid to switch up the fruits here, says Dave, so long as you’ve got a healthy mix of the core sleep-promoting ingredients in there. Explore below and enjoy.
Ingredients (& their benefits)
Pick your fruits:
banana (bursting with muscle-relaxing minerals plus vitamin B6, aiding a ‘relaxation effect’)
kiwi (full of antioxidants and vitamin C; shown to improve sleep in restless adults)
watermelon (contains lycopene, an antioxidant known for aiding sleep)
pineapple (can increase levels of melatonin)
a handful of walnuts & almonds (high in magnesium, essential fatty acids & melatonin, all essential for sleep)
a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (a sleep superfood, packed with tryptophan and zinc which aids our sleep hormones)
a few dollops of natural yoghurt (high in calcium which aids sleep; go for probiotic for a healthy gut boost – also great for our zzz’s)
½ teaspoon honey (contains glucose which reduces the level of Orexin, a neurotransmitter that can keep us awake)
- Pick your fruit combination then add nuts, seeds yoghurt and honey to taste.
- If you’re enjoying this fruit salad in the evening, try to leave a couple of hours between eating it and going to bed so that all the yummy nutrients can get to work.
Reviving mackerel ratatouille
This recipe, shared from our friends at Gousto, is bursting with goodness from delicious mackerel and tasty veg that’ll help you sail through your 5 a day. According to Gousto’s in-house dietitian Ellie Bain, “Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon are great sources of magnesium. This powerful mineral is known for reducing stress and preparing your body for sleep. A lack of magnesium has been directly linked to difficulty falling and staying asleep.”
With a hearty serving of wheat berries on the side that are great for the gut, this is the recipe for resting easy and waking up full of beans the next day.
2 red onions
1 red pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
125g cherry tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
130g wheat berries
1 vegetable stock cube
2 x 90g mackerel fillets
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/ gas 7. Peel and roughly slice the red onion, then de-seed the red pepper by scraping the seeds out with a teaspoon and cut it into thick strips. Trim the green stalks off the aubergine and cut, lengthways into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the vegetables and dried oregano to a tray with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and give everything a good mix up. Put the tray in the oven for 25 min or until the vegetables have softened
- Meanwhile, boil a kettle and chop the cherry tomatoes in half. Then, dissolve the vegetable stock cube and tomato paste in 200ml boiled water – this will be your tomato stock.
- Then add the wheat berries to a pot with plenty of boiled water and a pinch of salt. Cook over a high heat for 12-15 min or until tender with a slight bite. Once cooked, drain, return to the pot and leave to cool.
- Once the vegetables have softened, add the chopped cherry tomatoes and tomato stock to the tray and cook for 10-15 mins further or until the cherry tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened – this is your baked ratatouille.
- In the meantime, score the mackerel skin and season with a pinch of salt. Then, heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a drizzle of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, place the mackerel skin-side down and cook for 4 min, then flip the mackerel and cook for a further 1 min. Tip: hold the fillets down flat with a spatula to crisp up the skin
- Chop the basil leaves finely (discarding the stalks). Serve the mackerel over the baked ratatouille with the drained wheat berries to the side. Garnish with the chopped basil and enjoy.
See the full recipe with images over on Gousto.
Slumber-loving salmon salad
Another recipe from our friends at Gousto, this hearty salmon salad with quinoa and an orange miso dressing is packed with good proteins and fats that are meant to aid a great night’s sleep; think sleep-supporting magnesium from the salmon and an extra dose of vitamin C from the citrusy dressing for top quality zzz’s.
2 spring onions
80g sugar snap peas
1 tbsp white miso paste
1 rice vinegar sachet (15ml)
5g sesame seeds
200g skin-on salmon fillets
- Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold running water. Add the quinoa to a pot with 180ml cold water, cover and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook for 18-20 min or until all the water has absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat and leave to steam-dry, uncovered, until serving.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon fillets and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 6-7 min, turning once halfway, or until cooked through. Tip: Your fish is cooked through when it’s opaque and flakes easily.
- Whilst the salmon is cooking, cut the orange in half. Then combine the juice of the orange with the miso paste, rice vinegar, 1 tbsp vegetable oil and a generous pinch of salt in a small bowl – this is your orange-miso dressing.
- Peel the remaining orange and slice finely. Cut the sugar snap peas in half lengthways. Trim, then slice the spring onion. Chop the coriander roughly, including the stalks.
- Cut the avocado in half lengthways around the stone. Remove the stone using a teaspoon, then scoop the avocado out of the skin using a spoon and slice it finely, lengthways.
- Add the rocket, cooked quinoa, sliced spring onion, sugar snap peas and coriander to a large bowl. Add most of the orange miso dressing and give it a gentle mix up – this is your quinoa salad.
- Divide the quinoa salad between plates. Top with the orange slices, sliced avocado and the cooked salmon. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and garnish with the sesame seeds, then grab your knife and fork and dive in. Mmmmm.
See the full recipe with images over on Gousto.
From the fresh and delicious ingredients delivered in your box to the daily inspo that comes with new culinary combos, global cuisines and tried-and-tested cooking hacks, Gousto dishes up an extra helping of flavour to homes across the UK.
There are 50 recipes to discover on their weekly menus and each one has its own tasty Gousto twist. Whipping up impressive meals at home has never been so simple. Visit gousto.co.uk for more info.
These recipes were brought to you as part of our unwind with eve series, helping you transition to the ‘new normal’ and enjoy mornings brighter than ever.