10 Foods That Lead to Better Sleep
Eat, Perchance To Dream –By Maryam Rastkerdar
Trying to get more sleep? Start with making changes to your diet. Foods high in simple carbohydrates put the body on a sugar rush and drop the blood sugar during sleep, causing the body to wake up in the middle of the night. By being cognizant of that (and eating the right food at the right time before bedtime) may help with falling asleep faster and improve the quality of sleep.
- Walnuts | Not only do walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, they also contain high amounts of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a sleep-enhancing amino acid that, once converted into serotonin and melatonin, helps with setting body’s sleep-wake cycle and facilitates falling asleep faster.
- Almonds | Almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. Studies have shown that a low magnesium level will lead to less time staying asleep. Additionally, almonds have the added benefits of supplying proteins that help with maintaining a stable blood sugar level while sleeping. Consider sipping on warm, homemade almond milk (recipes abound on the Internet) as a way to create some sleeping bliss.
- Lettuce | One of the benefits of consuming lettuce is that a wide variety contains lactucarium. Also known as “lettuce opium,” lactucarium has sedative properties, which helps speeding up the sleep time. Because of the sedative effects on the brain, a salad with dinner is a great option for improving the sleep time.
- Fish | Most fish—especially tuna, halibut and salmon—are high in vitamin B6, which the body needs to make melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that is triggered by darkness.
- Cherries | Tart cherries are not only delicious, but they are also very effective in treating insomnia. Studies have shown that cherries help with boosting the supply of melatonin in the body. Eating a serving of fresh, frozen or dried cherries or even drinking a glass of cherry juice may be a beneficial way of helping with sleep.
- Bananas | Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, both of which help to relax muscles. They also contain vitamin B6, which the body needs for making melatonin, one of the key calming hormones for the brain.
- Cereal | A bowl of cereal before bedtime, especially whole grain cereal with low sugar content, may help with better sleep. Complex carbohydrates increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, increasing the sleep-inducing effects.
- Dairy Products | Yogurt and milk contain tryptophan but they also have a surprising sleep-inducing nutrient: Calcium. Research has shown that calcium deficiency makes it difficult to fall asleep. That means a serving of Greek yogurt before bedtime might be a great way of speeding up the sleeping process.
- Oatmeal | It’s warm, soft and soothing. In addition, oatmeal is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and potassium—the key nutrients to support sleep. But go easy on the sweeteners: Too much sugar before bedtime can have an anti-calming effect.
- Herbal tea | Chamomile tea is a very helpful and safe sleeping aid. Drinking chamomile tea is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that acts as a mild sedative and relaxes the nerves and muscles. Another sleep inducing option is passion fruit tea. Because of its high content of harman alkaloids, passionflower has a mild sedative effect leading to restful and deep sleep.
As seen on page 97.