A good night’s sleep is important to your health, but many people find it difficult to get the rest they need. If you’re not catching enough z’s, could your diet be to blame? Here are ten foods that can help you have a more restful night’s sleep.
- Poultry: There’s a reason you feel so sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner! Tryptophan, found in chicken and turkey, is an amino acid that helps your body make serotonin. This relaxing hormone helps the body make melatonin, which controls sleep cycles.
- Fish: Vitamin B6 makes melatonin, and B6 is abundant in fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut. Eating fish for dinner starts the process of making melatonin so that you’ll be ready to sleep by bedtime.
- Dairy: The traditional glass of warm milk before bedtime is firmly backed up by science and psychology. Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese contain tryptophan and melatonin, but they’ve also got calcium to help process those hormones, and casein, a protein that promotes muscle repair while you sleep. Psychologically, the warm milk can provide a cozy memory of childhood that can also help you relax.
- Whole grains: Complex carbs encourage the production of insulin, resulting in tryptophan activity in the brain. Whole grains also have magnesium to help you stay asleep.
- Nuts: Almonds and walnuts are especially good for promoting healthy sleep, not just because they contain melatonin, but also because the magnesium and tryptophan in nuts boosts serotonin production.
- Honey: The glucose found in honey lowers orexin levels. Orexin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that keeps you alert, so honey essentially reverses alertness.
- Eggs: Even though they’re typically considered a morning food, they’ve got tryptophan to make you sleepy.
- Fruit: Some fruits have melatonin and can help you fall asleep more quickly. Tart cherries or tart cherry juice, pineapples, oranges, and kiwis can help fight insomnia. Bananas are high in potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan.
- White rice: Because it has a high glycemic index, white rice creates a natural rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, and this helps tryptophan work faster. Oatmeal provides similar results.
- Tea: Having a cup of tea at bedtime is another traditional method for falling asleep. Chamomile, ginger, peppermint, and passionflower teas are all calming choices to incorporate into a relaxing bedtime ritual.
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