It’s 1 AM. You’ve tossed and turned and sleep is nowhere to be found. Missing out on a good night’s rest can really ruin your day, but one method for better sleep at night could be as simple as changing your diet. Yes, certain foods can make you sleepy! Why do you feel so tired after that nice lunch you had on your work break? Below I’d like to share 7 delicious foods for better sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of adults in the United States report not getting a healthy amount of sleep. However, there are many chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones found in certain foods that not only promote good sleep, but regulate your sleep cycle.
A word of caution: To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods, it may be best to eat at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. Trust me, you don’t want to ruin your perfect night of sleep with acid reflux.
For many, this may be the obvious choice for a good night’s rest. Notice how sleepy you feel after your family’s Thanksgiving meal? The reason is that it’s high in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body make serotonin (a relaxing mood hormone) which then makes your body make melatonin (a hormone that controls sleep cycles). In other words, you’ll feel like taking a nice nap after eating that large turkey meal.
I’ve written about the surprising health benefits of honey in a previous post. A spoonful before bed or mixed with chamomile tea could give you a more restful night’s sleep. It’s because glucose found in honey lowers levels of orexin – a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you more alert. Honey, essentially, throws that alertness in reverse.
Lettuce & Kale
Your green superfoods may also help you get a better night’s rest. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin.
Many foods suggested in this post contain tryptophan – the sleep-enhancing amino acid that triggers serotonin and melatonin in your body. However, researchers from The University of Texas found that walnuts already contain their own source of melatonin – which may help you fall asleep even faster.
Vitamin B6 makes melatonin in your body and it’s abundant in fish, with salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel having the most. In one study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, men who ate 300 grams of Atlantic salmon three times a week for six months fell asleep about 10 minutes faster than men who ate chicken, beef, or pork.
Rice has a high glycemic index that naturally increases blood sugar and insulin levels. This, in turn, helps tryptophan work in your brain faster. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that jasmine rice, in particular, brings on sleep faster.
Besides being an excellent source of melatonin, almonds are also rich in magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral needed for better quality sleep (and building bones). A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep. Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Also, it may help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep.
I hope these foods may help you with your sleep journey. Are there any foods that you recommend for rest? I’d love to hear your recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post to receive more healthy tips right to your inbox.