How to sleep: The cheap everyday food that could ‘improve sleep’

Snoring: Doctor explains how to sleep better at night

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The NHS says how we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older. People with insomnia will regularly find it hard to go to sleep, can wake up several times during the night and lie awake at night. There are certain foods which can help.

The Sleep Foundation says that rice consumption has been connected with improved sleep.

It notes that a study of adults in Japan found that those who regularly ate rice reported better sleep than those who ate more bread or noodles.

“This study only identified an association and cannot demonstrate causality, but it supports prior research that showed that eating foods with a high glycemic index around four hours before bedtime helped with falling asleep,” it notes.

It suggests that additional research is necessary to fully identify the sleep-related effects of different carbohydrates, though rice may help.

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“You probably do not get enough sleep if you’re constantly tired during the day,” states the NHS website.

The health body continues: “Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, while some life circumstances might make it more likely for your sleep to be interrupted, like stressful events or having a new baby.”

If you have insomnia for a short time, less than three months, it’s called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts for three months or longer is called long-term insomnia.

People with insomnia will regularly find it hard to go to sleep, can wake up several times during the night and lie awake at night.

The NHS says: “Most people experience problems with sleep in their life. In fact, it’s thought that a third of Brits will have episodes of insomnia at some point.”

After a poor night’s sleep, some people might be tempted to try and take long naps. However, it is generally best to avoid this and try to stick with your normal bedtime.

This is because taking naps during the daytime can disrupt the circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark and affect most living things.

The NHS recommends that you keep regular sleep hours, create a dark, quiet and cool environment and exercise.

If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you can talk to your GP.

Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours.

Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day.

Caffeine and alcohol can stop you falling asleep and prevent good quality sleep. Therefore, it is recommended that people cut down on alcohol and avoid caffeine close to bedtime.

Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep, and also prevents deep sleep.

Cutting out caffeine is not as simple as just ditching coffee. Caffeine can be found in other sources too. These include:

  • Tea
  • Some fizzy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Energy drinks
  • Some pain relievers.

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