A good night’s sleep is one of the major factors impacting a person’s mental and physical health. Several studies have proven that human beings need at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep per night to function at their optimal level. A lack of proper sleep can lead to several negative impacts such as an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, or even obesity.
The solution seems pretty simple: just get more sleep. However, for some, it can be easier said than done. But fret not because all is not lost. There are ways you can fight insomnia and promote better sleep, and it all starts with your diet.
There are foods known to increase melatonin levels, which is the hormone responsible for regulating your body’s internal clock. Eating such foods before going to bed will lead to a better night’s sleep. Here are some foods to eat before bedtime to help you sleep better:
Bananas are a superfood that does not get as much credit as they deserve. They are great for promoting overall health as they are rich in potassium, which is essential for cardiovascular health and cognitive functioning. Bananas also aid in the production of red blood cells, digestion, skin health, and much more!
However, more to the point of the topic of discussion, eating a banana before going to sleep can help you get a more restful night in because of their content of magnesium and potassium. These are natural muscle relaxants that not only help your body wind down into slumber but also to stay asleep. They also contain the valuable vitamin B6, which is a great sleep promoter as well.
Dark Leafy Greens
Calcium is another mineral that is essential to maintain a healthy body, and it goes far beyond keeping your teeth and bones strong. In regards to sleep, research has proven that a calcium deficiency can negatively impact a person’s ability to sleep. This is because the body requires calcium to aid in the production of sleep-promoting hormones such as tryptophan and melatonin.
Well, there’s a simple way to correct this! Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are an excellent source of calcium. In fact, kale has more than twice the dose of calcium when compared to the same serving of milk!
Walnuts are a great pre-bedtime snack because they cause the human brain to secrete melatonin. Research has proven that walnuts have enough melatonin in them that they can help anyone already struggling with sleeplessness to get a restful night in.
However, it’s worth noting that walnuts aren’t a cure for chronic insomnia. So, if you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for hours, night after night, it’s better to consult a doctor to get your self analyzed.
Another nut that can be great to munch on before sleepy time is almonds. Full of protein content, almonds make a great snack for any time of the day, but they are especially great as a pre-bedtime snack because they are rich in a sleep-enhancing amino acid called tryptophan. Almonds also contain high levels of magnesium, which is a nutrient known to naturally relax muscles and promote restful sleep.
Cheese has a high content of fat, which means that excess consumption of it can lead to excess weight gain. However, cheese is actually quite nutritious and can even help you get a better night of sleep.
A small portion of cheese before bedtime makes your body privy to the amino acid, tryptophan, which as we already mentioned, is a great sleep aid. It helps the body produce serotonin, which makes you feel calmer and helps you fall asleep quicker. As with everything, moderation is key as large amounts of fat, of which there is plenty of in cheese, can be difficult to digest before bedtime.
Skip the red meat at dinner time and choose fish as a healthier alternative. Not only are you forgoing the difficult-to-digest fat, but you will also be getting a substantial dose of vitamin B6, a critical component in the body’s production of melatonin and serotonin.
Your best bet is to go with fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut – which is where are you will get the highest dose of fishy vitamin B6. Alternatively, if you’re not a big fan of fish, you could substitute it with other vitamin B6-rich foods such as chickpea, pistachios, garlic, or bananas.
If you ever want to feel like you’re eating healthy, have some lettuce. The leafy vegetable is highly nutritious and low in fat. And did you know it can even help you with getting better sleep?
This is thanks to a substance called lactucarium present in the vegetable which is known to have sedative powers. So, a salad or sandwich that is heavy on the lettuce and light on the fat is a great meal for dinner – especially when paired with other sleep-promoting foods like walnuts, cheese, or fish!
Sweet potatoes are great dinnertime addition because they are one of the best sleep-promoting foods. They are full of complex carbohydrates and potassium, which are both known to promote better sleep.
To avoid bogging your sweet potatoes with too much fat, which would defeat the purpose of eating them for better sleep, try baking or air frying them with a light sprinkling of cheese and/or nut butter.
A warm cup of tea before bedtime can be just the soothing influence your body needs to transition into a peaceful night of rest. And among the plethora of tea flavors out there, chamomile may be the best one for the job.
Chamomile is an herb that has been used in folk and traditional medicine for centuries, and those guys knew a thing or two about getting the best out of nature. Chamomile is said to contain mild tranquilizer-type properties that help induce sleep. Furthermore, it has also been shown to help reduce inflammation, muscle pain, menstrual problems, ulcers, skin wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, and even hemorrhoids. It’s no wonder that more than one million cups are estimated to be consumed every day!
Passion Fruit Tea
If chamomile isn’t your thing, you can get a pretty similar sleep-inducing effect from passion fruit tea as well! According to an Australian study, drinking a cup of passion fruit tea before bedtime can lead to a better night’s sleep. It is believed that the tea contains Harman alkaloids, which trigger a response of calmness in the nervous system, leading to a feeling of sleepiness. Passion fruit tea also contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which is effective in reducing anxiety as it imparts a calming effect on the brain.