Nuts and dates for breakfast key to a good night's sleep, expert

Eating eight almonds and two dates within 30 minutes of waking is the perfect breakfast for a good night’s sleep at the end of the day, an expert has suggested.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep therapist, has calculated that the handful of nuts and fruit provides the correct balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate to allow the body to fire up the metabolism and stabilise blood sugar.

Eight almonds and two dates offers between 150 and 200 calories, helping the body to produce the hormone melatonin later in the evening, which is crucial for a good night’s sleep. And it could help people lose weight.

Dr Ramlakhan, who offers sleep coaching and is author of Tired But Wired: How to Overcome Your Sleep Problems, said: “Believe it or not, eating breakfast can help you sleep.

“It’s as simple as this: If you don’t breakfast, your body believes it is living in famine and produces stress hormones that are not conducive to restful sleep.

“But by eating breakfast, you’re letting your body know there is enough food and you are living in safety, which switches on your sleep energy systems.

“What’s more, eating breakfast can help you lose weight by speeding your metabolism by up to 10 per cent. It has a ‘thermogenic’ effect that can last hours after eating.

“Think of it like putting fuel into a fire and getting a bigger fire. Eight almonds and two dates is a brilliant start to the day for anyone as they wake up.”

In general, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night but the exact amount varies from person to person, depending on age, lifestyle and genes. But many people sleep for less than six hours a night, with modern life blamed for problems such as nodding off.

Sleep problems are also associated with many illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even colds and flu, so promoting better sleep could help overall health.

A separate study by the University of Leeds published in the journal PLOS One, found that people who were sleeping an average of six hours a night had a higher Body Mass Index. Dr Laura Hardie, the study’s author, added: “Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep.”

Dr Ramlakhan, added: “Often people who have difficulty getting to sleep delay going to bed, and then snack or drink alcohol mistakenly believing it will make them more tired; these are all excess calories that will lead to weight gain.”

The Sunday Telegraph

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