A Sydney restaurant has come up with a menu where it wouldn’t be considered entirely inappropriate to fall asleep at the table.

The seven-course “Sleepgustation” menu comprising sleep-inducing ingredients like healthy-fat fish, fluffy potatoes and cherries is to be washed down with drinks like the Melon-tonin Marg (made with melatonin-rich strawberries) or Nanna Nap warm chai latte with pineapple caramel.

“To set you up for your most productive day, your breakfast and lunch should contain more protein to stimulate the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are some of the hormones responsible for maintaining wakefulness,” sleep science manager for Emma Global, Emma Merritt said.

“However when it comes to evening meals, you should eat more complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, legumes and whole grains.

“These are all some of the things our guests will experience as they enjoy a seven course journey curated to help them drift off to sleep.”

While the $60 per person menu developed with chefs from The Strand in Darlinghurst may appear to be a cunning tactic by hosts at the Emma Sleep Hotel to encourage patrons to book a room, the science behind the menu stands up.

The Sleep Health Foundation charity says a healthy, balanced diet will give people more energy in the day and help them sleep better at night but it was what people ate and when they ate it that was the key.

It is best to wait at least two hours to go to bed after having the last meal of the day, it says.

Rich or spicy foods may make getting some shut eye more difficult but a small snack like a piece of fruit or milk drink can help soothe people to sleep.

The NSW Institute of Sport says too much caffeine or alcohol, or going to sleep with a stomach full of food or other liquids can result in a restless night. But a tryptophan-rich meal before bed can improve sleep quality.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid used by the body to make serotonin and melatonin – the neurotransmitter that makes people feel good and the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle, respectively.

Foods rich in tryptophan include cow’s milk, turkey, salmon, eggs, peanuts and pepitas.

Combining those tryptophan-rich foods with complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta or potatoes will help the body get the most benefit, say nutritionists.

Sarah Bristow from delicious magazine has milk at the top of her list of what foods can help with sleep, saying a warm glass can “do you wonders”.

Other tips include bananas (high in natural muscle relaxants magnesium and potassium, as well as tryptophan), cherries (rich in melatonin) and almonds (which contain melatonin and magnesium).

“The humble kiwifruit has also made the cut when it comes to edible sleep encouragement,” Bristow writes.

“The tropical treat is not only high in antioxidants but serotonin; the chemical which controls happiness and wellbeing in the body that is said to be critical for a quality kip.”

Source: AAP