Going vegan has many benefits. First, theres the obvious youre not eating animals, environmental factors and improvements to your health.
On the latter, research has linked veganism with benefits such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
But theres another advantage too, that could help you in everyday life. More specifically, your sleeping patterns.
Thanks to the specific diet, veganism could be the key to a good nights rest, according to Neil Robinson, who is the Chief Sleep Officer at bed and mattress manufacturer, Sealy UK.
Serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin are found in many vegan foods, and these nifty chemicals are imperative in helping you snooze.
Melatonin, a hormone that all humans produce, is sometimes also added into diets on its own as a medicinal supplement to help adjust the body clock when messing with sleeping patterns (like suffering heavy jet lag after a long flight). But this is in medicine format, so ask your doctor before you use it.
But as Robinson points out, you can get a natural dose of these elements through foods that fits a vegan lifestyle. So, what should you be eating?
Remember a few years ago, when everyone was on the kale bandwagon? There was a reason (aside from the calorific benefits) and that was calcium; a natural sleep aid which contains tryptophan (an amino acid that helps create melatonin) – its a win, win, basically. No need for that glass of warm milk to lull yourself off to the dreamland, just have a bowl of kale or even spinach as an alternative to your calcium intake.
Once again, lots of tryptophan, which by now you know is good for you. But, bananas also have high levels of magnesium and potassium, which in turn will help relax your muscles.
Healthy heart, happy life, right? Keep the ticker going strong by adding some oats to your breakfast bowl. With a variety of useful vitamins and minerals, the ingredient will encourage your body to loosen up and as a bonus, its also a natural source of melatonin.
Tired of sleepless nights? Grab a handful of almonds and munch away. Similarly to bananas, youll get a boost of both tryptophan and magnesium, and thanks to the high protein levels, youll also stay fuller for longer. Just dont overdo it, as almonds are also very high in (healthy) fats. According to Healthy Eating, 23 is the magic number, but others say 8-10; so its always best to check with a nutritionist before you go for that bowl of nuts.
With an extremely high potency of melatonin and antioxidants such as anthocyanins, this combo could assist in keeping you in that zen-like deep sleep state for longer.
Peanuts and peanut butter
Peanuts and peanut butter contain niacin, a vitamin B3 thatll aid with the production of serotonin. These two treats also high in good fats and similarly to almonds, will keep you nice and full. But keep an eye out for peanut butter products that also contain palm oil, which is damaging to the environment and also not part of a plant-based diet.
Have a cuppa before you get under the covers, and youll raise your levels of amino acid glycine, whichll help your muscles relax. Chamomile is also said to have an anti-anxiety effect.
Last but not least, theres the ingredient that has become the buzz word for millennials everywhere, and disrupted the property market – the trusted avocado. Now, although according to some its not technically vegan (lets ignore this and move on for now), it does contain lots of magnesium, which could decrease cortisol levels – also known as the stress hormone – and voilà, youre sleeping better already.
But lets put this to the test. What do the vegans say?
George, 26, who has been a vegan since November 2017, tells Metro.co.uk that he saw a change in his sleeping pattern at first, but its now levelled out.
I definitely noticed a positive change in my sleep when I first went vegan, for sure, said George.
Probably doesnt feel so great now, like more than a year into it, because you kind of get used to it. I suppose I wouldnt say that Im feeling like “holy shit Im sleeping so well” every day now, because thats just not the case, but there was a marked difference when I first made the switch.
Carrie, 43, had already been a vegetarian for many years, when she made the switch to a vegan lifestyle. But she suffered headaches at the beginning, due to the toxins coming out of her system when she stopped eating dairy.
I have been a veggie for most of my life. When I first went vegan three years ago, I had headaches. As I understand it, this was because of the toxins coming out of my system due to not eating dairy, nor meat or fish.
So, I discovered that I needed to get some B12 into my body. I tried the tablets, which were disgusting, then the drops, which were great but nothing really felt enough to me. Eventually I found that B12 patches were helpful; I stuck one behind each ear, and I felt like a real-life wonder woman, which has helped me sleep a lot better.
If Im having trouble sleeping, which does happen if I have too much tea or coffee, a hot bath helps me snooze. Sometimes I just need to get fresh air and exercise during the day to help me sleep too.
Going vegan has helped my health in that I am rarely ill, and I am sure it is has therefore helped me sleep, as I am quite convinced that dairy upsets my system. To outright say it is has helped me sleep better I would not really say, but it has improved my sleep, as it has improved my wellbeing, my digestion, and my overall health.
Feeling inspired to go vegan yet?
As always, if youre making drastic changes to your diet, its best to chat to a medical professional or nutritionist before you do.
Just to say on the safe side (and to make sure that youre getting the best beauty sleep possible).