Over the past year many people have noted that the health impact of the pandemic has not been confined to the effects of the virus itself, with a whole range of other issue becoming more prominent.

While the most obvious of these have come in the shape of increased hospital waiting lists, there have also been issues created by the psychological and physical effects of social distancing, isolation and limited movement, not to mention worries about money, jobs, health and what the future will bring.

As well as stress, sedentary living at home and increased alcoholism, sleep deprivation has been a noted problem, even allowing for the fact that insomnia has been an issue for millions of people because of the pressures of 21st century living.

There are all sorts of things that can be done to help you sleep better, of course, like a more regular routine, spending less time looking at a computer or smart phone screen just before bed, and doing something naturally relaxing. But the kinds of food you consume can also help. The right organic superfood blend might just make it easier to reach the land of nod.

According to the Sleep Foundation, there are several kinds of food and drink that are particularly good at helping you sleep. While the list includes oily fish, vegetarians and vegans have many other options to choose from.

If you do drink milk, malted drinks can be very effective, as they contain vitamins B and D, thought to aid sleep, as well as melatonin, which is believed to help stabilise your circadian rhythm. However, if you are a vegan you can try drinking tart cherry juice as well as eating tart cherries. This also contains melatonin.

Fruit fans can also try Kiwi fruits, with some studies suggesting eating a couple of these an hour before bed can help you drift off more easily.

Rice is also on the list, with a study in Japan suggesting it is better for sleep than other carb-bearing foods like bread or noodles. At the same time, it does not contain sugar, which can impede slumber.

Finally, nuts are also very helpful, with lots of magnesium and zinc, which studies have shown are helpful in enabling older people to get to sleep. Almonds and walnuts are among the best nuts for this purpose.

Other things you can consume that may help include bananas – which are full of magnesium – and oatmeal, which contains plenty of carbs, although the evidence for this is largely anecdotal and much more research is needed.

In addition you should try more herbal teas, which are very calming and, needless to say, are a very good alternative to coffee or anything else with caffeine in. That should only be consumed in the morning to help you wake up.

Ultimately, the key is to make sure you are consuming foods with plenty of serotonin and melatonin to help manage body rhythms and mood, as well as vitamins and antioxidants. Not only will this help you sleep better, but it is healthier in general.

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