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   Jul 14

Is this the recipe for a perfect night’s sleep? Food scientist creates a menu she claims will help even insomniacs drift off as it’s packed with ingredients that make us drowsy

Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart and Lily Soutter have created a three-course dinner

Nearly every ingredient on the menu has sleep-enahancing properties

They have based the dinner on scientific evidence and university research

If you struggle to get to sleep, or always wake up in the middle of the night, then it may be your diet that’s preventing you from having decent shut-eye.

That’s according to a renowned food scientist, who has helped create the ultimate menu for the perfect night’s sleep.

Based on university research and scientific evidence, Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart worked with registered nutritionist Lily Soutter to create a three-course dinner that will help you snooze peacefully by nightfall.

Sustainably sourced mackerel, organic kiwi, Kalamata olive, and baby spinach salad – you can buy different varieties of the core ingredients to make a simpler version at home, if you can’t get the exact ingredients

A menu for the perfect night’s sleep


Sustainably sourced mackerel, organic kiwi, Kalamata olive, and baby spinach salad


Corn-fed chicken, pumpkin seeds, black garlic and organic sweet potatoes


Fresh Galia melon with yoghurt, walnuts, walnut oil, apple juice, honey and mint

Dr Edwards-Stuart, who researched flavours and textures for a PhD sponsored by Heston Blumenthal at the University of Nottingham, and Ms Soutter created the menu scientifically in a laboratory owned by mattress company SIMBA Sleep.

They first analysed some ingredients to select those which have been known to promote sleep.

The first ingredient chosen was kiwi, as researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University found that eating kiwi on a daily basis helped improve the quality and quantity of sleep in a recent study due to the fruit’s high antioxidant levels and high seratonin levels.

They then picked chicken, because experts have found that the bird is one of the best sources of tryptophan, a building block of sleep hormone melatonin.

Walnuts were also included on the menu, as researchers from the University of Texas found that the nuts contain melatonin as well.

Dr Edwards-Stuart and Ms Soutter then found complimentary ingredients to pair these foods with, that would not reduce sleep-enhancing properties.

They used science to pair up ingredients based on shared aroma profiles.

Corn-fed chicken, pumpkin seeds, black garlic and organic sweet potatoes is the perfect meal to eat if you want a good night’s sleep, according to the experts

The experts recommend you eat fresh Galia melon with yoghurt, walnuts, walnut oil, apple juice, honey and mint for a perfect night’s sleep

This included pairing kiwi with omega-3 fatty acid-rich mackerel for the starter, as Oxford University research has shown that omega 3 fat could stimulate the release of sleep hormone melatonin.

They also included spinach and olives in the starter dish as both share aroma compounds with kiwi. Spinach is also high in magnesium and research has shwon that levels of this mineral fall and rise in correlation with people’s 24-hour sleep and wake cycle.

With the main course, they chose magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds to pair with the chicken, as well as sweet potato, a source of tryptophan.

The experts say mackerel, spinach, olives and kiwi not only complement each other perfectly but will aid your sleep

They also say melon, yoghurt, walnuts, apple juice, honey and mint will have the same effect

Are you sleep deprived? Easy test lets you know if you need more sleep

For the dessert, Dr Edwards-Stuart and Ms Soutter wanted to keep the sugar levels in the sweet treat low as sugar can disrupt sleep.

Therefore they chose honey to sweeten the dessert as it has a lower glycaemic load in comparison to regular sugar and won’t make blood sugar levels spike.

They also paired melon and apple juice with the walnuts because they are both good sources of fibre, which can slow the release at which sugar enters the bloodstream and can keep levels stable through the night.

Ms Soutter said: ‘Although many of us understand the importance of nutrition during the day, few of us are aware that certain foods could be sabotaging our sleep.

‘Whilst the process to develop the SIMBA Dream Food menu has been meticulous, we have taken care to ensure that these recipes are simple enough to replicate or inspire your meal choices at home.’

Visit simbasleep.com/dream-recipes for more information.

Source: Daily Mail

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