Getting enough sleep is vital for our health and, thankfully, there are several foods that may help with this.
Some foods are high in antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or helping you to stay dreaming for longer while other foods are packed with sleep-regulating hormones / chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin.
To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods, it may be best to have them a couple hours before bed as eating them right before sleep may cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.
Here are 6 examples of foods that will indeed help you to crash out and have an overall better quality snooze….
- Fatty fish
Salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are all incredibly healthy fatty fish that are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. it is in fact the combination of these two cruicial elements in fatty fish has been proven to enhance sleep quality. When these two ingredients are put together, the production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical, increases thus, the feeling of being tired soon starts to kick in. Eating a few ounces of fatty fish in an afternoon or evening may indeed help you fall asleep faster.
- Bananas These calorific, energy suppling fruit contain tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium, both of which are known to help relax your overworked and perhaps tense muscles allowing a deeper, calmer, better quality sleep. Bananas also have the added benefit of helping to lower your blood pressure while you sleep which is a nice bonus.
- Kiwi fruit
A medium kiwi contains only 50 calories and a significant amount of nutrients, including 117% of your daily needs for vitamin C and 38% for vitamin K. They’re also packed with folate and potassium, as well as several trace minerals. Eating kiwis may benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol due to their high fiber and carotenoid antioxidant content.
However, Kiwi’s are not only great for all this but they may also be one of the best foods to eat before bed. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are thought to be, like with fatty fish, due to their content of serotonin- the brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. It has also been suggested that the antioxidants in kiwis may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.
4. White rice and Oatmeal
These grains are widely consumed as a staple food in many countries. White rice is considered less healthy than brown yet it still contains a decent amount of vitamins and minerals. White rice is significantly higher in carbs and it is just this that that contribute to its high glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food increases your blood sugar. It is the high glycemic index that may help improve sleep quality. Despite the potential role that eating white rice may have in promoting sleep, it is best consumed in moderation due to its lack of fiber and nutrients.
Oatmeal is similarly high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. Oats are also known as a good source of melatonin, that sleep-regulating hormone I keep mentioning.
It’s not just that festive meat that goes well with cranberry sauce and gets a fair bit of stick for being ‘dry’ and boring’, Turkey is actually one of the best meats one can consume, not just for sleep but in general. And here’s why….
Turkey meat is extremely high in protein, which we all know is greatly important for keeping your muscles strong and regulating our appetite. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, phosphorus and selenium. Turkey, however, does contain properties that explain why some people may become tired after eating it, and not just on the 25th December after the biggest feast of the year. It has been proven that it’s high levels of the amino acid tryptophan increases the production of melatonin, another sleep-regulating hormone. The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness.
Let’s start with walnuts; these bad boys are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles.
And don’t forget almonds…. Rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. Eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants. The fact that these little things can help our snoozing is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of, you guessed it, melatonin.
Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium which has been proven to help those who suffer with sleeping disorders such as insomnia as the magnesium counteracts the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which, obviously, can disrupt one’s sleep.
And there you have it. My top 6 foods for better sleep.
Ok, a little more research can and should be done before we can conclude the exact role that foods have in promoting sleep, but their known effects are very hopeful.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and learnt something from it.
With love as always,