Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative, and there are foods that can actually help you sleep better. Perhaps you already know of some foods that will keep you up past your bedtime, like coffee and cola, but there are foods that provide vitamins and minerals that trigger your body’s natural sleep signals, making you feel sleep and helping you stay asleep once you’re there. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to see just how much of a difference it can make to your quality of sleep.
You don’t actually have to eat cherries before bed in order to get their benefit. Keep a bottle of cherry juice in the refrigerator and sip on it a few hours before you plan to retire for the night. You’ll help your body boost its own melatonin levels naturally, so don’t be surprised when you find that you can’t keep your eyes open around the 9 o’clock hour. Don’t try to stay up past your natural sleep cycle, it’s OK to go to bed early, you’ll find that you’ll naturally wake up earlier feeling great and you can get the things done in the morning that you weren’t able to get to at night.
Eating grapefruit before bed has been an old wives’ tale for years, but as it turns out there’s a reason why this has been known to help sleep. It contains lycopene, an antioxidant in the body that has been shown to improve the way you sleep. This is additional good news, since lycopene has also been shown to help ward off heart disease and cancer, and has anti-aging benefits. Just one more reason to start adding grapefruit to your diet, as well as other foods that contain lycopene. Grapefruit can also help you lose weight if needed, and being at a proper weight can lead to better sleep as well.
Almonds are considered a superfood, and being a sleep aid is just one of a number of benefits they provide. Almonds contain helpful magnesium, which helps your body relax, preparing you for sleep and allowing you to stay asleep longer. Almonds also have healthy fats which your body needs each day, and can be used as part of a healthy diet. They’ve also been shown to help build muscle if you are lifting weights, and getting better sleep while following a muscle building exercise regimen means your muscles will heal more quickly, providing faster results.
The lycopene in tomatoes is what makes them a good choice for a dinnertime mainstay. Go with cooked tomatoes whenever possible, as this unlocks more of the lycopene so you get more of a benefit. It’s been widely known that tomatoes are good for you thanks to their lycopene content, but few realize just how many benefits this one antioxidant brings with it. Adding this to your diet should not only help you sleep better, but will help you avoid some serious diseases like cancer and heart disease according to research. Getting better sleep will also improve all areas of your life, so start eating more tomatoes if you don’t already.
The calcium in yogurt and other dairy products will help your body de-stress, which will help you fall asleep more quickly and avoid the wandering mind when trying to get to sleep. When eaten as a nighttime snack you’re also introducing good bacteria to your digestive system, which will be hard at work while you sleep. You can find calcium in other dairy products as well, like milk or cheese, but yogurt seems to be better tolerated as a bedtime snack, also acting to curb your appetite long enough to fall asleep without struggling with hunger pains.
Dates present a dual action sleep enhancer because they contain tryptophan and they also contain fast-acting carbohydrates that help the tryptophan take effect. This means they not only provide the element that induces drowsiness, but also the means to have it work more effectively. Consuming dates an hour before you plan to go to sleep will make it so you have less of a problem drifting off. Other foods that are a rich source of tryptophan is turkey, dairy, nuts, and seeds. The trick is you’ll want to eat a food that is rich in carbohydrates at the same time to make it work better.
Tea is a popular nighttime remedy for insomnia, and there are even special varieties that are specifically meant to make you more sleepy. You can try chamomile tea, one that is especially known to put the body in a relaxed state. You can also try teas with a minty flavor to them, like spearmint. Lemongrass tea is also known for helping you fall asleep. You’ll want to avoid any tea that has caffeine in it of course, and you can try mixing up different types until you find the right mix that puts you out for the count.
The calcium in kale will help your body relax after a stressful day. We don’t typically think of green vegetables as containing calcium, since dairy gets bought up the most in a discussion on calcium, but kale has plenty. The interesting thing is that it will give you energy to get you through your day, and then help you relax when the day is finished and it’s time for rest. It really is a wonderful food, and one that provides plenty of benefits, including essential minerals, protein, and fiber.
9. Miso Soup
Miso soup is a staple in Japanese culture, and is becoming more widely available in the US. It is made from fermented soybeans, and is often served alongside sushi to help round out the meal. This soup contains amino acids that will help your body produce its own melatonin naturally, which will help you start yawning at the appropriate time. It’s a good idea not to ignore these signals and fight to stay awake. Go to sleep when your body starts telling you it’s time. The Japanese tradition of taking a hot bath before bedtime may also help you in your quest to fall asleep more naturally.
While often seen during the summertime, watermelon can be bought year round, it’s always summer somewhere, right? You can enjoy this fruit and the nutrients it brings, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping. Watermelon is a source of lycopene, the same item found in tomatoes that earns tomatoes such a healthy reputation. Watermelon is also a great food to enjoy when you are watching your weight, or trying to lose weight. It’s been dubbed a superfood on many top food lists, thanks to its well-rounded nutrient content.
11. Whole Grains
Eating whole grains can bring on a case of the yawns, which is surprising since cereal is often thought of a breakfast food to help wake you up and give you energy. You may want to try moving that bowl of cereal to a nighttime snack because research suggests it can help you stay asleep. It’s thanks to the magnesium these whole grains contain, and this can be a big help when you’re trying to relax and find a good position to fall asleep in. If your body is tense and achy you won’t be able to get comfortable and will toss and turn. Low magnesium levels can help produce this condition in the body.
We’ve previously talked about bananas as being the perfect snack food to carry with you during the day because it’s ultra portable and will give you a burst of energy at the right time. But an interesting fact about bananas is that they’ll also help you feel sleepy when it’s time. Your body tries to follow what’s known as the circadian rhythm, this means that when it gets the right nutrients it feels sleepy at night, and produces energy during the day. Bananas help at both times thanks to the different nutrients they contain.
Strawberries make many healthy food lists because of their antioxidants and vitamins, and also because they taste great so it’s easier to start eating more of them. It’s the Vitamin C in strawberries that helps you out in the sleep department, and they have plenty. Oranges are known for their Vitamin C content as well, but are not as well tolerated as strawberries due to their acidity which can cause heartburn or acid reflux when consumed too close to bedtime for some. You may want to try a strawberry smoothie as a nighttime snack that will help you fall asleep without upsetting your waistline.
The Vitamin B6 in many types of fish will help your body produce melatonin, without the need to take melatonin supplements. Some of the best types of fish to consume for better sleep are salmon and halibut, and there are other foods you can choose that also feature B6. In addition to helping you sleep better, many of the oily fish varieties contain omega-3s which help you function better during the day as well. You don’t have to worry about boosting your melatonin and feeling drowsy in the middle of the day, it kicks in at night after the sun goes down signaling your body and mind that it’s time to rest.
15. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers contain Vitamin C, which has been shown to be a natural way to help your body get better sleep. Vitamin C is known for being a big factor in strengthening your immune system, and a Vitamin C deficiency can open you up to all sorts of maladies, first of all is the inability to fall or stay asleep. Just one more reason to make sure that you are eating a mix of foods during the day to get your Vitamin C and other nutrient needs met. They’ll give you the energy you need to be active and have a full day so you wear yourself out and fall asleep quickly at night.
It’s been proven that chickpeas are able to increase the amount of Vitamin B6 in the body, which as was previously discussed with fish is something the body can use to create its own melatonin. This is not something that you can eat if you are tossing and turning at night, but it’s something you can have during the day so that your body has time to process it and absorb it. It’s like preventive medicine, without having to resort to taking medicine just to help your body do something it should be able to do quite naturally: fall asleep.
There isn’t much broccoli can’t help you with, and falling asleep is just one item on a long list of benefits. It’s the large dose of vitamins it contains that gives your body what it needs to function properly. Running short on vitamins is a sure way to make it so your body struggles with routine tasks like falling asleep quickly and effortlessly. You’ll also be getting the benefit of increased protein, iron, and fiber, along with the magnesium content that helps with the sleeping trouble.