Simple recipes to help you sleep soundly

Squash gnocchi

There are many remedies that are thought to aid relaxation and promote sleep. From calming lavender scents and soothing baths, to heart-warming teas and tinctures, it may take a while to understand exactly what nighttime ritual works for you. 

And the best news is you don’t need to splash the cash in order to build a healthy sleeping routine. In fact, you can start with what you’re eating. Certain foods are known to calm the brain, which can help prepare your mind and body for a night of rest. For example, for longer and better quality sleep, red and orange foods are important, as well as carbohydrates, vitamin C and selenium-rich produce (nuts, meat and shellfish). For aiding relaxation, opt for dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

Spinach and Squash Gnocchi 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tsp sage 
  • 250g spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Add the vegetable stock to a pan and bring to a boil. Add the squash and salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the gnocchi for a further five minutes.

Heat the oil in a separate pan and sautée the shallots and garlic until soft. Add the chickpeas, sage and spinach, gently stirring until the spinach is wilted. 

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Cup of lavender tea on book

Lavender Sleep Tea

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 250ml almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 chamomile herbal tea bag
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add a sprinkling of dried lavender buds for some extra relaxation.

Method

Gently heat the almond milk in a small saucepan, stirring continuously. When hot but not boiling, add the chamomile tea bag and lavender buds, if you’re using them. Steep for five minutes. Add the honey and vanilla extract and stir. Remove the teabag. Pour into your mug of choice and enjoy.

Our expert, nutritional therapist Michaella says…

“There’s a reason your mum never wanted you to go to bed hungry! Feeling hungry at night makes it difficult for the body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin, and blood sugar imbalances leave us struggling to get a full night’s rest. The gnocchi recipe is packed with protein and carbohydrates, which is sure to satisfy and keep you fuller for longer.

“When it comes to sleep, there are certain nutrients that our body needs to produce melatonin. Magnesium is key in this process and dark leafy greens are an excellent source. The chickpeas provide protein, which is important for balancing blood sugar while we’re sleeping. 

“Lavender is an ancient herb that has been used for many years. It has numerous benefits, but its sleep-enhancing power is certainly one to embrace. The chamomile tea used as a base in this recipe can not only promote sleep, but also reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation, making it a particularly good choice for those who find drifting off tricky due to a racing mind. Be sure to cover the tea while it is brewing to contain the sleep-enhancing vapours.”

Find out more about Michaella.


This recipe was originally published in the November edition of Happiful magazine. To purchase your copy, head to shop.happiful.com.

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Ellen Hoggard

Written by Ellen Hoggard

Ellen is the Content Manager for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.

Written by Ellen Hoggard

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