The amount we sleep has an overall impact on our health. Research has suggested that impaired sleep can contribute to a number of health issues including weight gain, risk of diabetes, impaired hormonal function and increased craving for high sugar high fat foods, to name a few. Here are some tips you can use to improve your sleep through your diet: Increasing fiber in your diet Ensuring your gut health is essential for improving you sleep as melatonin (i.e. the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) is not only released in the brain but is also released in the gut. A healthy gut will help absorb more melatonin and promote better sleep. Foods rich in fiber include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and pulses. Consuming food rich in Tryptophan Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts to the hormone serotonin and contributes to improved sleep. Foods rich in tryptophan include: oats, dates, chickpeas, buckwheat, fish and eggs. Ensure adequate magnesium status Magnesium plays a key role in muscle and nerve relaxation. Food sources include: quinoa, nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, black beans and dark chocolates, to name a few. Some common habits that may be hindering your sleep quality are: Excess coffee intake This is not exactly a revolutionary fact. But, it’s important to understand how caffeine might be affecting you. Caffeine delays the onset of adenosine which makes your feel tired throughout the day. It also delays the onset of GABA i.e. a neurotransmitter which leaves you feeling calm and ready for sleep. Ensure that you’re not consuming caffeine late in the evening. Eating a large meal before you go to sleep Research has shown that eating a large meal before you hit the bed may delay sleep latency which means that it will take you longer to fall asleep. This is possibly, due to the delay in the secretion in melatonin and the fact that your gut is working hard to digest all the food. I recommend that you eat dinner two hours before bed and if that is not possible then opt for lighter meals like soup or salad. Scrolling We are all guilty of this one. However, what we do know is that light from the screen can hinder the release of melatonin. Try limiting your light exposure atleast an hour before hitting the hay.