Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Sleep Diet; TRENDS A New Wellbeing Cookbook Draws on Ancient Ingredients That Soothe the Gut in Order to Cure Insomnia, Finds Samuel Fishwick

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Sleep Diet; TRENDS A New Wellbeing Cookbook Draws on Ancient Ingredients That Soothe the Gut in Order to Cure Insomnia, Finds Samuel Fishwick

Article excerpt

Byline: Samuel Fishwick

THERE are cities that never sleep but London is demonstrably exhausted. Twothirds of the adult population here don't get the right amount of shut-eye -- which is seven to eight hours, by popular scientific consensus. It's a problem exacerbated by street noise and light pollution.

A new book, Super Roots, by wellness entrepreneur and Koya noodle house chef Tanita de Ruijt, aims to get to the bottom of the problem, borrowing from traditional Chinese systems of medicine to reorientate your body for a better night's sleep. "It all starts from within," says de Ruijt. "It's not simply that a diet of processed foods eaten late keeps our bodies in a stressed state that's not conducive to good sleep. It's the fact we're not even cooking. Ring-fencing time every evening to cook for half an hour has a meditative quality that people are missing."

The book is a holistic long view of how to manage your body throughout the day. Slow-releasing complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, she says, mean you stay full for longer, negating energy spikes throughout the day.

When bedtime comes, de Ruijt recommends not eating after 7pm to ensure that the digestive system is not in flux. Cumin seeds, added to her sweet potato chaat recipe, are "a natural sedative", and the backbone of a sensible dinner that won't leave you bouncing off the ceiling at 11pm. Research at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests sleep deprivation contributes to depression, anxiety, obesity, memory loss, Alzheimer's, cancer, stroke, infertility, heart attacks, an impaired immune system and plenty more to keep you up at night. And increasingly, the gut -- and its microbial cultures that call the small intestine home -- is being reexamined as a vital plank in the quality of your 40 winks.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London and author of The Diet Myth, has speculated that a gut-friendly diet is the key to a good night's sleep. …

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