Apart from a good sleep schedule and regular exercise, the thing that most affects your sleep health is the type of food you consume.
Depending on the type of food you eat every day, you can either have a peaceful night of sleep or end up disrupting your sleep schedule. It therefore becomes paramount to recognize the type of foods that help you sleep better and those that do not.
Foods that make you sleepy are rich in components like manganese, potassium, tryptophan amino acids, etc. We will therefore be recommending 9 such food items that you can include in your diet to make it easier for you to fall asleep.
#01 Warm Milk
A glass of warm milk right before retiring to bed is considered great for the night sleep. Milk is naturally rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that helps regulate the level of melatonin and serotonin in the body. While melatonin helps maintain the sleep wake cycle of the body, serotonin is also associated with feeling of wakefulness, mood, digestion, etc. The high calcium content and warmness of the milk helps process the tryptophan present in it.
Banana is perhaps the best fruit that you can consume before going to bed to help improve your sleep quality. Not only is it one of the easiest fruits to eat but also rich in nutrients like vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium which help in inducing restful sleep.
This makes the fruit one of the best foods to combat sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea and deal with conditions like stress and anxiety. Having a whole banana or a glass of banana shake can miraculously increase one’s sleep quality due to the combined effects of milk and banana, both of which contain tryptophan.
#03 Cherry Juice
Cherry juice, especially that of tart cherries is a great sleep aid when taken about a couple of hours before bedtime. A recent study found out that participants who drank tart cherry juice twice a day on an average slept 84 minutes more than those who didn’t. Tart cherry contains a good amount of nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus and melatonin which is the reason why they are often consumed together with an oatmeal. Past studies have shown that tart cherries help recover after intensive work-out session and helps the body relax.
#04 Herbal Tea
There is an increasing trend of replacing caffeinated drinks with herbal teas due to the many benefits of the latter. Tea made of herbs like chamomile and passionflower are considered particularly good for inducing sleep. Such herbs are great antioxidants and are known for reducing the level of stress in the body. Studies in the past have shown how a daily dose of such herbs can make people sleep about 15 minutes faster than usual. Herbs like these also come in the form of supplements that can be taken before retiring to bed to help boost your sleep.
Almonds are one of the best foods to help you sleep when taken at night. Apart from being rich in manganese and calcium, these tree nuts are also good antioxidants.
It is also helpful in regulating the body’s internal clock as they help secrete melatonin. A mixed serving of almonds and walnuts is one of the best pre-bedtime snacks as walnuts are also helpful in regulating the sleep hormones. Among other nuts that help induce sleep are flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
People struggling with insomnia are often suggested to include kiwis in their diet as they are rich in melatonin, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, etc., all of which help promote sleep quality. This sweet and tangy fruit is very helpful in regulating the much-needed serotonin in the body. Not only does serotonin help maintain the sleep cycle but also facilitates certain key aspects of sleep such as learning, memory consolidation, mood regulation, etc.
This whole-grain food is widely consumed around the globe as nutritious breakfast. However, few are aware that oats are also great for inducing sleep. An oatmeal serving helps regulate the blood sugar level and helps secrete melatonin in the body. They are rich in nutrients like tryptophan, calcium and magnesium. Magnesium in particular has been studied for its effect on controlling conditions like restless leg syndrome and night terrors. Oats when consumed together with milk and tart cherries is probably one of the best things you can have before going to sleep.
#08 Fatty Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids present in fatty fish is known as a good nutrient for helping people sleep better. These fatty acids are helpful in reducing stress, anxiety and depression in the body.
Although omega-3 can be taken at any time of the day, taking a dose before bedtime helps you improve your sleep quality and daytime alertness.
A study published in Scientific Reports found that schoolchildren between the age of 9 and 11 who were fed omega-3 fatty acid not only slept better but also scored more in IQ tests. Fatty fish can also be identified as a great sleep aid due to the fact that it is packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B-12, etc.
Including lettuce in your supper is one of the most beneficial steps that you can take towards achieving a good sleep health.
These leafy greens come with a component known as lactucarium which is also called as lettuce opium because of its sedative and euphoric effect. When the nerve cells are sedated, there is an increased possibility of getting more deep sleep in the night.
Including sleep-inducing foods in your diet, especially close to bedtime may be considered as important as fixing a sleep schedule and sleeping on a good mattress. It is also essential to store a mattress carefully when you are putting it away for some time to maintain its quality. We hope that the food to help you sleep that we mentioned above prove beneficial for your overall sleep quality.
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