Are you tossing and turning at night? When counting sheep isn’t working, it might be time to look to your diet to promote a good night’s sleep. Here are six delicious foods that help you sleep.
Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that help the muscles relax to encourage restful sleep. They are also a good source of tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin and melatonin. These hormones regulate sleep cycles, and other human functions such as appetite and mood. Snacking on banana chips or freeze-dried bananas near bedtime is a healthy way to satisfy a case of the munchies and improve the quality of your sleep.
Just like bananas, walnuts contain natural levels of tryptophan to help the body produce sleep-regulating hormones when it comes time to go to bed. Walnuts also contain a unique source of melatonin, which is one of those hormones, and is often referred to as nature’s sleeping aid. People that are tossing and turning at night may not be producing enough melatonin naturally, and that’s when food sources like walnuts can help. A handful of raw walnuts induces some much needed shut-eye.
3) Whole Grains
For dinner, consider preparing whole grains such as bulgur or buckwheat. Eating whole grains ensures you’re getting enough sleep-promoting nutrients in the hours right before bedtime. Whole grain foods are rich in complex carbohydrates to help regulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin levels tend to be low in people who are sleepless at night. Whole grains are also rich in vitamin B6, which is required to make the other sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Enjoying whole grains as a regular part of your diet can help you get your beauty sleep.
Most of us would enjoy eating a handful of tart cherries over lying awake in bed counting sheep any day. Researchers from Louisiana State University found that tart cherries, as a natural source of melatonin, reduced insomnia in older adults. Tart cherries also improve the availability of tryptophan, which helps the body produce both melatonin and serotonin. Snack on tart cherries after dinner to curb sweet cravings and encourage a good night’s sleep.
There are so many advantages of eating leafy green vegetables, but did you know that they can also help you sleep? Kale and similar greens are loaded with calcium, which acts as a helper nutrient to tryptophan. The great thing about kale is that it’s such a versatile ingredient. You can blend it up into kale smoothies and juices, or eat it as a crunchy snack in the form of kale chips. If you have a late-night snack craving, kale crackers are another tasty solution.
Perhaps the most well-known natural sleep aid, chamomile tea is the perfect beverage to sip on before you hit the sack. It promotes a sense of calm and reduces anxiety levels, making it ideal to quiet a racing mind at night. Experience tranquility by preparing a warm cup of tea with chamomile flowers. If you don’t have a tea infuser, a teaspoon of chamomile powder also does the trick! Sweeten this soothing beverage with honey, if desired.
Do you include any of these foods that help you sleep as part of your nighttime ritual?