Getting enough sleep is detrimental to our health. However, many of us struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours each night. The good news is that there are many different ways to achieve a better night’s sleep and it can be as easy as just tweaking your diet. So, if you want to catch up on your ZZZs, here are 10 foods that can help you sleep better due to their sleep-inducing properties.
10 Foods for Better Sleep
Almonds are a source of many nutrients, including magnesium and tryptophan, which help to boost sleep quality. These nutrients naturally reduce nerve and muscle function and at the same time, steady the heart rhythm. Magnesium also improves your sleep quality becauses it reduces inflammation and it also might reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
One study that was published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that low magnesium levels can lead to troubles in the sleep department.
On top of that, almonds are also an excellent source of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
So, if you want to sleep sounder, try eating an ounce or about a handful of almonds before bed.
Walnuts also make a great bedtime nut snack. They are abundant in nutrients, so they are great for your overall health and they are also great for improving the sleep quality.
They are one of the best sources for the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. On top of that, they have healthy fats, such as the omega-3 fatty acid that converts in the body to DHA. This nutrient docosahexaenoic acid increases production of serotonin and it’s associated with better sleep. Higher levels of DHA lead to fewer wakings during the night and longer sleep duration.
Just like with almonds, a handful of walnuts is enough to get the sleep promoting benefits.
Honey promotes relaxation, which helps us ease into sleep. The natural sugar found in honey slightly raises our insulin levels and provides tryptophan, which is a compound famous for making us sleepy. The glucose in honey also lowers the levels of orexin, which is a neurotransmitter that keeps up your alertness.
All you need is a spoonful before you go to bed. You can also add it to herbal tea with a bit of cinnamon.
4. Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is also great at promoting sleepiness. It has a high content of hormone melatonin, which regulates your internal clock and gets your body ready for sleep.
One study researched the effects of drinking cherry juice in adults with insomnia. The study found that subjects who drank cherry juice twice a day experienced better and longer sleep in comparison to those who didn’t drink the juice.
5. Chamomile Tea
Herbal teas have excellent snooze-promoting properties. And one of the best calming herbal teas is chamomile, which has been used for ages as a natural sleep remedy.
Chamomile tea contains apigenin, which is a phenolic flavonoid that binds benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. This promotes better and sounder sleep.
Chamomile tea also calms your nerves, relaxes the muscles and it was also found to reduce stress and anxiety.
There have been several studies that researched the link between chamomile tea and better sleep. One of them studies 34 adults that drank a cup of chamomile tea twice a day for 28 days. The results showed that these subjects fell asleep 15 minutes faster and they had fewer awakenings compared to subjects who did not drink the tea.
Bananas contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. The latter also normalizes heartbeat, relaxing and soothing your body.
They are also carbs, which are also effective at making you feel sleepy.
The fruit also contains tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that has natural sedative effects. On top of that, it also has vitamin B6, which which the body uses to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and the relaxation-inducing serotonin.
So, next time you’re having trouble falling asleep, have a banana snack.
Oatmeal is considered a breakfast food by most people. However, they also make a good snack before bed.
It’s rich in carbohydrates, which releases insulin and which, in turn, makes the amino acid tryptophan more available to the brain. And tryptophan, once it’s in the brain, converts to serotonin and melatonin, making you feel happier, more relaxed and sleepy.
Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, which is known as the anti-stress vitamin.
Dairy products are a natural source of tryptophan, which leads to a good night’s sleep. And it’s not only a glass of milk that can help you sleep better. Cheese and yogurt have the same effects
Dairy products are not only a great source of tryptophan but they also contain vitamin B6 and magnesium. These nutrients promote the availability of the amino acid, improving your sleep quality and duration.
9. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and trout, are also excellent sleep-promoting foods. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which increase the production of serotonin and enhance your sleep quality.
These fish also boast high vitamin B6 content, which your body uses to make melatonin and serotonin.
White rice has a high glycemic index. When you consume rice, the carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels and that releases a large amount of insulin. And insulin is known to drive tryptophan into the brain. This helps both the mood and sleep.
So here you have 10 foods that may help you improve your sleep. Look for foods that are rich in nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamin B6. They are known to enhance sleep by promoting sleep-regulating hormones and brain chemicals.
However, keep in mind that the timing and the amount you eat counts. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach, as it will have the opposite effects. If you’re really hungry before hitting the pillow, just have a small healthy snack of one of the sleep-inducing foods. But, it’s best to eat at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed.