Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Can this dream of a menu help you sleep better?

Is this the ultimate ‘dream’ menu? These unique new recipes have been created to help us sleep better.

New research by Sealy UK, the world’s top bed makers, discovered has the average British person in the wakes up feeling tired four days every week on average.

But the solution could be as simple as examining your diet and the foods that are helping, and hindering, your sleep. 

Aiming to combat the UK’s sleep problem, Sealy UK has teamed up with Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist and founder of Rhitrition, London's leading private nutrition clinic, to create a series of unique recipes designed specifically to help you get a better night’s sleep.

After researching the scientifically-proven sleep-inducing properties of different ingredients, Rhiannon has carefully designed some delicious recipes, which include foods containing nutrients like tryptophan and magnesium, to promote good quality sleep.

Tryptophan is an amino acid, which your body converts into the sleep hormone melatonin, while magnesium is a mineral that reduces your body’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and calms your nervous system in preparation for sleep.

The range of recipes include:

‘Forty winks’ three bean chilli
This vegan chilli is a great dinner option to promote good sleep. It is full of legumes which are a great source of tryptophan. Serve it up with rice for an extra boost of tryptophan and melatonin.


2 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

1 red chilli, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 400g tin black beans

1 400g tin cannellini beans

1 400g tin red kidney beans

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp cacao powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ avocado, diced

2 tbsp chopped coriander

Rice to serve if desired


Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large lidded pan over medium heat.
Add the carrots, onion, garlic and chilli to the pan and sauté for 5-10 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans.
Add the cacao powder, cumin, chilli powder, smoked paprika and tomato puree to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the beans, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook with the lid on for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and allow to cook for another 15 minutes.
Serve topped with the diced avocado, coriander and rice if desired.

'Rise and shine' kedgeree
Eggs and fish are both sources of tryptophan that can help the body to produce more serotonin, which plays a key role in our sleep cycle. This kedgeree is a British classic full of fish, gooey eggs and curry spice. For an extra tryptophan boost, swap out the traditional smoked haddock for salmon!


3 eggs

200g rice

1 onion, diced

400g skinless, boneless smoked haddock or salmon

500ml vegetable stock

150g frozen peas

150ml milk

100ml water

1 tbsp mild curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 lemon

¼ cup chopped parsley


Place the milk and water in a small saucepan and poach the fish fillets over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside once cooked.
To soft boil the eggs, bring a pan of water to a boil and submerge the eggs for 6½ minutes. If you prefer fully set yolks, leave for 7-8 minutes. Once done, submerge the eggs in cold water and set aside.
 Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spices and toast for 1-2 minutes.
Add the rice to the pan with the stock and the poaching liquid from the fish. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and quarter the eggs and flake the fish.
Add the fish, peas and parsley to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes, until the peas are tender.
Serve topped with the eggs, a squeeze of lemon and an extra sprinkle of parsley.

Banana nut ‘slumber’ muffins
These banana nut muffins are full of walnuts, which are one of nature’s best plant sources of the sleep hormone melatonin. They also have plenty of magnesium in them, thanks to the bananas, to help promote relaxation and good sleep.


3 over ripe bananas

120g plain flour

120g plain wholemeal flour or buckwheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

60g chopped walnuts, plus extra to sprinkle on top

120 ml melted coconut oil or butter

120 ml maple syrup or honey

2 tbsp of oats, to sprinkle

1 tbsp of brown sugar, to sprinkle


Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases.
In a large bowl, mash the 3 bananas. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and coconut oil until smooth.
In another bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.
Fold the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients until combined. Stir through the walnuts.
Fill each muffin case 2/3rds of the way full. Sprinkle some oats, brown sugar and walnuts on the top.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and either serve warm, or allow to cool completely.

Cherry & Cacao ‘cat nap’ porridge
Tart cherries are a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin, which rises in the evening and causes us to sleep. In this recipe they are cooked into a lovely compote and served with chocolatey cacao porridge. Cacao powder is also a great source of magnesium.


½ cup oats

250ml almond milk

1 tbsp cacao powder

½ tsp cinnamon


80g cherries, fresh or frozen

1 tbsp water

1 tsp maple syrup or honey

To serve:

1 tsp cacao nibs

1 tsp flaked almonds


Place the cherries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the compote is syrupy and the cherries are soft. Add more water if needed.
Once the compote is ready, add the oats, milk, cacao and cinnamon to another pan over medium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thickened.
Serve the porridge in a bowl, topped with the cherry compote, cacao nibs and a sprinkle of flaked almonds.

Almond butter flapjack ‘zzzz’
These chewy, chocolatey flapjacks make the perfect evening snack or dessert thanks to their sleep-friendly ingredients. Oats, almonds, cacao and dark chocolate are all good sources of magnesium. Oats and almonds are also sources of melatonin, known as the sleep hormone.


400g oats

125g honey

125g almond butter

4 tbsp cacao powder

75g coconut oil

50g dark chocolate

1 tbsp chopped almonds


Preheat the oven to 180c. Line an 8x8” tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the oats and cacao powder.
Add the almond butter, honey and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl and heat until melted.
Add the almond butter mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until evenly mixed.
Press the mixture in to the tin, pressing down well with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the side.
Once cool, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle on the top of the flapjacks.
Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
Slice in to squares and serve.
Holly Housby, sleep expert at Sealy UK, said: “Sleep is a hugely important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but it can often get overlooked. In fact, it seems many of us are unaware of how the food we eat during the day can impact our sleep at night, which is why we want to help people understand how they can improve their sleep quality through their diet.

“Modern life can be hectic, but it’s vital that people start prioritising getting good quality sleep in order to live the healthiest and happiest life they can. It’s shocking that we’re now living in a world where waking up tired over half the time is considered normal.”

Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist, added: “Most of us think little of losing as little as an hour of sleep, yet it is anything but trivial. Routinely sleeping less than six hours a night compromises your immune system, significantly increasing your risk of serious diseases, so much so, that recently The World Health Organisation classified any form of night-time shiftwork as a probable carcinogen. It's now widely understood that if you’re regularly clocking in at under seven hours a night, you’re doing yourself a disservice as grave as that of regularly smoking or drinking to excess.

“I really believe it is time for us to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep, without any embarrassment or the terrible stigma of laziness. Put simply, sleep (a consistent seven to nine hours) is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day, and the reason I promote and adore sleep - both scientifically and personally.”

To view the full range of recipes, visit