Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes Can Help Improve Your Sleep
Stew, Shepard's pie, casserole - what do they have in common? Potato, lots and lots of potato.
While being Irish makes me ever so slightly biased towards the humble root vegetable, the benefits of potatoes, specifically sweet potato, in helping you get 40 winks have been widely reported.
Fondly known as a 'sleeper's dream', sweet potato boasts sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates that gives your body the steady energy it needs while your snooze.
On top of that, the veggie also contains potassium, which helps relax your muscles before your head hits the pillow.
The healthy veg is rich in magnesium and promotes GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) secretion in the brain, which much like potassium relaxes you before you hit the sheets.
Sweet potato also contains vitamin B6, which not only helps serotonin production but also the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin - so eating a spud makes us both happy and sleepy.
Doctor Vincent Pedre, author of Happy Gut, told MindBodyGreen.com: "One specific food on my favourites list for a great night's sleep is a baked sweet potato.
"They are rich in potassium, which helps your muscles relax. They also have magnesium, which promotes GABA secretion in the brain-a relaxation-inducing neurotransmitter.
"As a complex carb, they digest slowly, providing the steady energy your body needs to make it through the night in a fasting state.
"And their vitamin B6 content becomes a co-factor for a number of important chemical reactions in the brain, including serotonin and melatonin production-the sleep-inducing hormone."
Sweet potato for the sleeping win!
But it's not all about the sweet potato as the regular spud is another good source of potassium when baked and the skin is kept on, according to Health.com.
Website How To Grow Potatoes explains that the root veg is great for those suffering with their sleep and suggests eating one (again with the skin on) for dinner.
They said: "Carbohydrates are one of the first nutrients to break down, and they begin to enter the bloodstream as soon as 20 minutes after you begin eating.
"This initial rush of blood sugar will boost energy for a short time, allowing you to finish up your nightly routine. Within an hour or so, blood sugar levels begin to stabilise, and you enter into the 'crash.'
"At this point, you may notice that you are far more tired than you were before eating. This is an optimal time to hit the sheets and get a great night's sleep."
Suddenly potatoes are looking a lot more a-peel-ing.
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