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With the weather growing colder it can become a challenge to warm up at bedtime. And given the current rise of energy costs, many won’t be turning on the heating just yet. Alongside classic warming techniques such as using hot water bottles and wrapping up in extra layers, there could be a way to beat the cold via snacking.
Sleep expert and director of Bed Kingdom, Ashley Hainsworth, spoke with Express.co.uk about foods that can naturally heat up your body and induce sleep.
“Having nuts before bed, such as peanuts, almonds, and pistachios, can increase the speed of your metabolism and raise your body heat, therefore warming you up for bed,” he said.
“As well as this, these nuts contain melatonin, a natural hormone that helps to control your sleep cycle and therefore helps you get some shut eye.”
He commented: “It’s no coincidence that cinnamon is associated with winter – thanks to its thermogenic properties that increase our body’s heat when it’s cold, it’s perfect to consume before bed.
“Having a sprinkle of cinnamon in a glass of milk at night-time won’t just heat you up, but due to the tryptophan in milk which induces sleep you’ll also find it easier to rest.”
“Oats may be something that you would normally have at the start of the day, but they have several benefits that prove useful for bedtime,” Mr Hainsworth said.
“They are slow to break down in your body due to being high in bran and fibre, and this slow digestion releases warming energy.
“Plus, this food also contains melatonin to improve your sleep.”
He explained: “Filled with vitamin B and magnesium, bananas help with the functioning of your thyroid and adrenal glands, thus regulating your body temperature in the cold weather.
“In fact, the high levels of magnesium don’t just keep you warm, but they also help your muscles to relax and calm your body to ensure you get to sleep easily.”
He said: “Ginger is another excellent food you can consume to warm you up before you catch some Zs.
“With the vasodilating properties in ginger, your blood vessels are relaxed which contributes to an increased blood flow helping your body to heat up.
“Opt for a ginger tea – and if you’re suffering from a stuffy nose due to the weather, this will ease that to help you sleep better.”
“Being a root vegetable, carrots cause your body to heat up due to the necessity for more energy during digestion,” he concluded.
“And while some vegetables may not be the best thing to consume before you try to get some shut eye, carrots are one of the vegetables that will promote sleep as they contain the alpha-carotene nutrient as well as potassium.”
Cooling foods to avoid before bed
But he added: “While there are several foods that can keep you toasty, there are others that will do quite the opposite – so when you’re trying to warm up before you go to sleep, there are some foods in particular you should try to avoid.”
Water-rich fruit and vegetables – “Water-rich fruit and vegetables are known to cool the body, including watermelon, peaches, oranges, celery, and cucumber,” Mr Hainsworth said.
Berries – “Berries are alkaline, meaning that they generate cold energy and release excess body heat.”
Spicy foods such as jalapenos and cayenne peppers – “Surprisingly they make us cooler by activating a nerve receptor in our tongue that can recognise heat, thus causing us to sweat and cool us down.”
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and cabbage – “They might be healthy, but it’s best to avoid these before bed due to their cooling effect on the body.”
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