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These 10 Foods Will Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep (Slideshow)

These 10 Foods Will Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep (Slideshow)


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Cook with these ingredients to fall asleep and stay asleep

These 10 Foods Will Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep

Whether you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, changing your diet can help restore your sleep patterns.

Almonds

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According to a study published in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, magnesium deficiency makes it difficult to stay asleep. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, so snack on a few before bed or sprinkle them on salads or a stir-fry at dinner if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Bananas

Cook with bananas for a vitamin B6 boost; this vitamin can also help your body produce more melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. Though we often think of bananas as an ingredient for baking or dessert, they’re also delicious in sweet and savory main dishes like salads.

Barley

Like almonds, barley is a good source of magnesium. As an added bonus, it’s also a wholesome source of carbohydrates, which can help your brain get the sleep-inducing amino acids it needs. After it’s cooked and cooled, sprinkle barley on top of salads at dinner.

Cherries

Tart cherries are particularly rich in melatonin. They pair nicely with pork chops; after you’re done cooking the pork chops, add some pitted and halved cherries to the pan that you cooked them in. Use the cherries, about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a splash of red wine vinegar, a splash of water, and your favorite herbs and seasonings to make a quick pan sauce, scraping up any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Honey

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Since carbohydrates help tryptophan enter the brain more easily, eating a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get a better night’s sleep. One of the easiest ways to cook with honey is to use it to glaze roasted vegetables. After the vegetables have been roasted in the oven, brush them with a small amount of honey and return them to the oven for 1-2 minutes.

Kale

Kale, already hailed for its numerous other health benefits, is also a good source of calcium. Calcium is believed to help your brain use tryptophan and make melatonin. Snack on kale chips before bed or cook raw kale in vegetable stock for five minutes before tossing it garlic oil and serving it alongside your dinner.

Lettuce

Garden lettuce is a mild natural sedative and sleep aid thanks to the lactucarium it contains. Add a small side salad to dinner for a solid night’s sleep.

Shrimp

Shrimp and other crustaceans are rich in tryptophan and can help you achieve a more restful night’s sleep. Try making one of these delicious shrimp recipes for dinner if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Tuna

A great source of vitamin B6, fish like tuna (and halibut and salmon) will help your body make melatonin and serotonin, which are essential for quality sleep. Not sure how to cook tuna? Click here for some of our best recipes.

Yogurt

It turns out that warm milk does help you sleep at night, owing to the fact that it’s rich in calcium. Calcium helps your body produce the sleep hormone, melatonin. Try using Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream when you’re making Tex-Mex for dinner.


Eating these foods can help you get a good night’s sleep

Diet plays a large role in your overall health by ensuring your body stays strong, your mind sharp, and your ability to sleep well. Although eating a large meal makes you feel incredibly tired, you actually don&rsquot sleep well because your body is too busy digesting such a large meal. Also, when you consume certain foods, they perk you up and keep you wired. So, what you eat can play a large role in your ability to sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping, then you may want to take a closer look at your diet and make appropriate changes that can help you get a good night&rsquos sleep.

Sleep therapist Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan suggests that the best food combination you can consume 30 minutes after awakening to promote sleep is eight almonds and two dates. Doing this will help kick-start your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, and, above all, help your body release the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin.

Dr. Ramlakhan explained, &ldquoIt&rsquos as simple as this: If you don&rsquot [eat] breakfast, your body believes it is living in famine and produces stress hormones that are not conducive to restful sleep. But by eating breakfast, you&rsquore letting your body know there is enough food and you are living in safety, which in turn switches on your sleep, energy systems. What&rsquos more, eating breakfast can help you lose weight by speeding your metabolism by up to 10 per cent. It has a &lsquothermogenic&rsquo effect that can last hours after eating. Think of it like putting fuel into a fire and getting a bigger fire.&rdquo

Keep in mind that eight almonds and two dates isn&rsquot enough to sustain your body for the morning. You can pair them with a smoothie or your regular breakfast, whether that is a bowl of cereal or even an egg.


First… The Best

A popular garnish on meats and fishes (especially in France!), tarragon is as medicinal as it is flavorful. "Tarragon has been used as a remedy for poor sleep quality," explains integrative health practitioner Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., author of Holistic Keto for Gut Health: A Program for Resetting your Metabolism. The spring herb also antioxidant properties, supports digestion, and is a good source of potassium, she says.

Your move: purchase either fresh tarragon (which FYI can last in the fridge about 4 days) or dried tarragon. Then, either make this Whole30 Butternut Squash, Fennel, and Tarragon Hash, this Creamy Mushroom, Chicken, and Tarragon Soup, or sprinkle the herb on a slab of salmon, chicken, veal, or whatever your meat of choice is.

Shutterstock

Sleeping poorly? That's no excuse to cut out kale. "You SHOULD be eating dark leafy greens with dinner," says celebrity nutritionist Dr. Daryl Gioffre (who has worked with Kelly Ripa). "They'll give you plenty of fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, which help keep your colon clean." And, like spinach, kale is packed with calcium, which helps your body produce sleep-inducing melatonin, he says.

If you have the option between sauteing the chewy green and eating it raw, Dr. Gioffre recommends opting raw, because the heat may reduce the food's vitamin C contents.

One caveat: Because leafy greens are so full of slow-digesting fiber, he recommends giving the leaves about three hours to move through your system before shutting your eyes. So, avoid kale on the nights when you plan to snooze immediately after snacking.


Diet and Sleep: The Big Picture

It’s natural to want to find a food to make you sleepy or the single best food for sleep, but it’s important to be realistic. Sleep is a complicated process affected by many things including mental health, light exposure, and underlying physical issues.

Diet is also multifaceted. It isn’t just one food instead, it is cumulative, affected by when, what, and how much we eat throughout a day and over weeks, months, and years. Individuals can have distinct reactions to different diets, making it hard to generalize about the perfect diet for everyone.

Because of these factors, it’s hard to design research studies that provide conclusive answers about the optimal food for sleep. While it’s tempting to try to draw hard-and-fast conclusions from individual studies, the science doesn’t support broad extrapolations.

Given the complexity of diet and sleep, for many people it may be more meaningful to focus on the big picture — healthy sleep and diet habits — rather than on individual foods and drinks.

Healthy Diet for Sleep

Nutritionists recommend eating a balanced and consistent diet that is made up mostly of vegetables and fruits. Properly designed, such a diet provides stable sources of essential vitamins and minerals, including those that can promote sleep. An example of this type of diet, the Mediterranean Diet, has been associated with heart health as well as with better sleep.

Many principles of a balanced and consistent diet go hand-in-hand with general tips for avoiding sleep disruptions related to food and drink:

  • Limit caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon or evening when its stimulant effects can keep you up at night.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption since it can throw off your sleep cycles even if it makes you sleepy at first.
  • Try not to eat too late so that you aren’t still digesting at bedtime and are at less risk of acid reflux. Be especially careful with spicy and fatty foods late in the evening.

Sleep Hygiene

Your sleep environment and daily routines, known collectively as sleep hygiene, play a critical role in your ability to sleep well.

While some foods may help with sleep in general, they are less likely to be effective if you have poor sleep hygiene. For example, if your bedroom is noisy and bright or if you use electronic devices in bed, it may suppress your body’s melatonin production and counteract the benefits of sleep-promoting food.

Reviewing your current sleep hygiene practices can be a starting point for sleeping better, and since it involves considering your daytime and pre-bed routines, this review may offer an opportunity to incorporate foods that are good for sleep into an overall plan to get more consistent and replenishing rest.


Take Specific Actions to Improve Your Quality of Sleep

First, we have to ask you: Have you taken any action lately to improve your sleep?

According to a Better Sleep Council survey, about half of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, but less than half have taken any specific action to improve the situation. Adults 35 to 54 years old felt more sleep deprived (52 percent) than other adults (44 percent for those age 18 to 34 and 42 percent for those age 55 and older), but often took the wrong steps in trying to make it better.

Close to one-third of adults turned to coffee and other caffeinated drinks to stay awake the next day, for instance, rather than taking naps or trying to improve nighttime sleep. While most understood that sleep deprivation makes it harder to concentrate and tends to increase stress, less than 30 percent believed that a lack of sleep increased risk of serious issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and memory loss.

There are several studies showing strong connections between sleep deprivation and serious health issues. The Institute of Medicine United States Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research states in their book, “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem,” “After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.”

They add that the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss include all those diseases mentioned above and estimate that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems.

To increase the odds that you’ll get a good night’s sleep, take the following steps:

  • Check with your doctor: If you snore or wake up with headaches or a sore throat, you may have sleep apnea, a serious condition that can lead to chronic sleep deprivation. There are other medical causes of regular insomnia too, so it’s best to rule these out before proceeding.
  • Check on your medications: Some medications can interfere with sleep. These include alpha and beta blockers (used to treat high blood pressure), corticosteroids, some antidepressants, ACE inhibitors and other heart disease medications, Alzheimer’s medications, antihistamines, statins (used to treat high cholesterol), anti-arrhythmics (used to treat heart rhythm problems), diuretics and asthma medications. Not everyone is affected, but if you are experiencing insomnia, it’s worthwhile checking to see if one of your medications may be keeping you up. Your doctor may be able to recommend a different type of medication or adjust your dosage to help.
  • Check your mattress: Most mattresses need to be replaced after eight to 10 years. Check yours for sagging spots or overall lack of support and invest in a new one if you need to. It’s one of the most important investments you’ll make.
  • Keep your room dark and cool: Light signals the brain that it’s time to wake up, so keep your room as dark as you can. Invest in darker blinds if necessary. A hot room also disrupts sleep — experts recommend between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Stick to a regular schedule: Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day — even on weekends — helps to regulate your internal clock so that you can fall asleep more easily.
  • Exercise daily: Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve sleep. It not only wears you out, but it helps ease stress and increase relaxation.
  • Follow a regular bedtime routine: What you do before you go to bed can have a big impact on your quality of sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol (it disrupts deep sleep), turn the technological gadgets off (they emit blue light that disrupts sleep hormones) and engage in a quiet activity like reading, stretching, taking a warm bath or listening to some soft music.
  • Eat lightly: Eating a heavy meal at night tends to interfere with your sleep, particularly if you go to bed two or three hours after dinner. Eat your evening meal earlier in the evening and, if you need a snack before bed, try to make sure you eat it at least an hour before and keep it light.

Foods That Can Induce Sound Sleep

Food helps us in providing nutrition, but food is good for sleep disorders too. Here are some foods for sleep deprivation or some foods for inducing better sleep:

1. Tomatoes

This red tangy fruit is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene and folic acid. These juicy fruits also contain melatonin, a compound that is known for its sleep-inducing qualities. Tomatoes also contain choline, a nutrient that aids in promoting sleep and other cognitive functions.

2. Grapes

Grapes contain melatonin in abundance. Melatonin aids better sleep, and thus a bowl of grapes is an ideal snacking option if you are experiencing difficulty in falling asleep.

3. Pistachios

This yummy nut is not only power packed with many important vitamins and minerals, but it also contains high amounts of melatonin. These small nuts can come handy if you wish to get some good sleep.

4. Cherries

Most of us like to relish cherries however, not many of us may be aware that this fruit is also great for battling insomnia. The naturally occurring melatonin is found in abundance in these red fruits, which is great for getting sound sleep. You can eat dried cherries too, as they have the same benefits as fresh cherries for inducing sleep.

5. Chickpeas

This legume is loaded with protein, is low in fats and has ample amounts of fibre in it. The presence of vitamin B6 and magnesium in chickpeas helps one feel calm and relaxed, and thus sleep better. Chickpeas are one of the most ideal options for an insomniac&rsquos diet.

6. Mushrooms

If you are facing problems in sleeping at night, mushrooms may offer you the much-needed solution. This edible fungus contains tryptophan, which aids the production of melatonin in the body. If you love eating mushrooms, you can bid farewell to your sleeping woes.

7. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers &ndash be it green, yellow or red, contain good amounts of tryptophan. Tryptophan helps in the production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. While bells peppers have a soothing effect on your sleep, hot peppers may do just the opposite. Therefore, keep hot peppers at bay if you need some good sleep.

8. Bananas

This yellow mushy fruit contains a good amount of potassium and vitamin B6. Both these nutrients are essential for making the sleep-inducing hormone, known as melatonin. So, the next time you find yourself struggling to sleep, eat one banana and doze away to glory.

9. Kale

Greens leafy vegetables are good for your overall health, and the icing on the cake is that the green vegetables are good for putting you to sound sleep too. Green vegetables such as kale are loaded with calcium, and the dearth of this mineral in your body may make it difficult to get sound sleep. Therefore, include more green leafy veggies like kale in your diet for sound sleep.

10. Whole Grains

Have you felt drowsy after having whole wheat pasta or other whole grains? Well, that&rsquos all the high dose of magnesium doing its job. Whole grains have ample amounts of magnesium, which is helpful in putting you to sleep.

11. Walnuts

Apart from providing you with a bundle of nutrients, walnuts have been proven to improve the quality of your sleep too. The presence of AHA in walnuts, which is an omega-3 fatty acid, helps in converting AHA into DHA. DHA is helpful in the production of serotonin, a sleep-inducing chemical in the body.

12. Fatty Fish

Mackerel, tuna, trout and salmon are some fatty fish options. These fish are a high source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Both these components prove to be beneficial in promoting the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for promoting sleep. If you include a few ounces of any fatty fish before going to bed, it may help you sleep better.

13. Almonds

Almonds contain many essential vitamins and minerals that are good for our health however, this nut is also responsible in dealing with sleep deprivation issues. Almonds contain good amounts of magnesium, which not only help decrease the stress levels in the body but also improve sleep quality.

14. Turkey

This yummy bird meat is also supposed to induce better sleep in people. The presence of tryptophan, an amino acid in turkey, helps in triggering sleep-inducing hormones. Eating turkey may also cause a kind of tiredness, which may help you to sleep better.

You may include these in your diet if you are facing difficulties with your sleep. These foods contain compounds that help in aiding better and improved sleep patterns.

Wish to know more about adding food in your diet get some sound sleep? Here are some FAQs or frequently asked questions on the topic:

1. What Foods Should Be Avoided for a Good Night&rsquos Sleep?

While some food may help you get sound sleep, other foods may disrupt your sleep. Some foods that you should avoid before bedtime are:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and other such drinks because they can keep you awake for long hours.
  • Processed or junk food because they are loaded with fats, which can make you heavy and uneasy at night.
  • Spicy or hot foods, because they can lead to heartburn and acidity.
  • Foods containing high amounts of protein, because protein-rich foods help in stimulating brain activity.
  • High-fat foods, because they take more time to digest and disrupt your sleep cycle.

2. What Should I Drink to Sleep Better at Night?

Apart from including natural foods for a good sleep, you may also include some drinks in your diet to help you sleep better. Some of the options include warm milk, chamomile tea, decaffeinated green tea, almond milk or malted milk.

3. When Is the Best Time to Consume Foods to Reap the Maximum Benefits to Aid Sleep?

In order to reap maximum benefits from eating foods that may help in inducing better sleep, you must consume these foods at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. This is because food takes time to get digested, and any undigested food may cause digestive issues or acid reflux, which may fiddle with your sleep.

Everyone loves to sleep, but if you are struggling to get some good quality sleep at night, it may take a toll on your health too. You can include any of our suggested options to get some sound sleep and feel healthy and happy.


The truth about 'sleepy' drinks

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate is traditionally a bedtime drink. It usually contains caffeine, which is a stimulant, although amounts vary from brand to brand. If you find it difficult to get to sleep, consider switching to a sleepy tea or a malt-based drink.

Warm milk

Milk contains melatonin, a hormone that helps create the urge to fall asleep, but the jury is out on whether it can actually impact on the body’s melatonin levels. Milk also contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. Try pouring warm milk over cereal to get a tryptophan hit as the carbohydrates in cereal help tryptophan to pass the blood-brain barrier.

Night cap

The odd night cap won’t do you much harm, but if it becomes a habit it can lead to significant problems, including insomnia. Alcohol helps us get to sleep, but causes us to spend less time in REM sleep (the most satisfying type of sleep) and can cause us to wake up during the night.

Sleepy tea

Research shows chamomile increases the level of glycine (a nerve relaxant) in the body. Valerian tea was prescribed for insomnia in ancient Rome, and it may reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality, according to research. Passionflower has also been shown to improve sleep. It’s believed valerian and passionflower increase the brain’s level of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a chemical that helps us regulate our nerve cells and calms anxiety.

Water

You can’t get a good night's sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night because you’re thirsty or need to go to the bathroom. Make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day to stay hydrated all night. The European Food Safety Authority recommends women drink about 1.6 litres of fluid per day and men 2 litres. That's eight to ten 200ml glasses.


Eat These 6 Foods To Help You Sleep Better At Night

There’s nothing better than getting a good night’s sleep. It is truly one of the great pleasures in this world. You know what isn’t? Not sleeping through the night and waking up feeling like you hate the world. Most people who have trouble sleeping often resort to medications or sleeping aids like Ambien, Lunesta, or other sleeping gels. People who take these pills have a greater risk of developing cancer.

Don’t risk your future health just to get a little sleep at night when there are foods that can naturally help you fall asleep. You can eat any one of these foods a few hours before bed because they have a natural, calming effect on the body. Additionally, you can also try our nerve formula or nerve calming tea, both of which contain herbs that can naturally relax you.

Forget the sleeping aids and grab a banana. Because they are rich in potassium, which is an important mineral for getting a healthy night’s sleep, they are a great food to eat an hour or two before bed. Additionally, bananas also contain tryptophan and magnesium, both of which have a calming effect on the body.

Beans contain a natural a natural B-vitamin complex, and B vitamins have been a natural way to treat insomnia for a while. People with anxiety or high stress levels often resort to B vitamins as well. Beans are rich in niacin, folate, and B6, all of which can help you sleep.

#3 Nuts & Seeds:

Nuts and seeds are great to eat before bed because they can increase serotonin levels in the brain. They also contain magnesium and tryptophan! The best nuts and seeds to eat are walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds. Always try to get these raw and unsalted so that you get the most benefits.

#4: Chickpeas

As previously mentioned, beans are a great sleep aid, so chickpeas, which belong to the legume family, are great too! Chickpeas contain vitamin B6, which helps boost serotonin levels, and that helps promote healthy sleep. Hummus is a classic way to eat chickpeas, but there are many other ways to get chickpeas in your diet.

Cherries are a great source of melatonin, which many people resort to in pill form to help them sleep. Go straight for the natural source by eating cherries. You can also remove the pits from the cherries, juice them, and drink cherry juice to improve your sleep cycle.

#6: Leafy Greens

Well, you should always have leafy greens in your diet, but they are a great source of calcium. Calcium is very important in the body because it helps produce sleep hormones. If you want to snack on something before bed, try baking some kale in the oven with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to make kale chips.


Day time: Top 5 foods for a slower energy release throughout the day

Porridge­: Thanks to their low glycaemic index, the nutrients in porridge are slowly released into the bloodstream, keeping your children going throughout the morning. Quick trick: Adding a sweet treat (like honey or fruit) can help with the lack of flavour.

Chicken: For an energy-filled lunch, high-protein options like chicken will keep your kids full for the rest of the afternoon without having to snack before dinner.

Peanut Butter: The lower in sugar and salt the better. This children’s classic is always a winner for the fussy eaters.

Quick trick: When mixed with jam (or ‘jelly’ to our friends across the pond!) in a sandwich, it never disappoints.

  • Beans: What kid doesn’t love a plate of beans on toast? High in protein, this food will provide the energy your child needs for a fun-packed day.
  • Dried Fruit: Dried fruits are packed with iron which assists with oxygen being carried around the body and keeping their minds active.

Quick trick: Dried prunes aren’t always a popular choice amongst children. Why not try raisins or apples?


1 of 8

Almonds

An ounce of almonds supplies nearly 25 percent of the magnesium women need per day, and this mineral is sorely lacking in our diets. In fact, data indicates that almost 80 percent of us aren&rsquot taking in sufficient magnesium. And research suggests that poor magnesium levels may be related to insomnia.

In order to fall asleep, your brain needs to chill out, and magnesium may help with the process. In a study in mice given magnesium, the mineral acted as a sort of &ldquochill pill,&rdquo similar to what you&rsquod expect from anti-anxiety drugs. It also turns out that the receptors magnesium binds to in the brain, known as the GABA receptors, are the same ones that prescription sleep pills act upon.

Because of their high magnesium levels, almonds are one of the top foods that help you sleep better. You can snack on almonds, mix them with yogurt or sprinkle them on salads. Or try a homemade granola. DIY granola is so worth the extra effort because it doesn&rsquot skimp on pricier ingredients, like nuts, that are often in short supply in store-bought brands.


Risks and Side Effects

Always make sure you start with small amounts of any new food, herb or essential oil, as different people have different reactions to certain foods. If you notice anything unusually, stop the treatment immediately. Also, if you have been on prescription medication for sleep or any other medication, please consult your doctor first.

Final Thoughts

Sleep is a crucial part of our health and healing. Take it seriously, and seek out the help of a functional medicine practitioner if you can’t get your sleep under control.

Stay away from synthetics and stimulants, and try the following natural sleep aids instead:

  • Tryptophan and serotonin foods
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Essential oils
  • Passion flower
  • Valerian root
  • St. John’s wort

In addition, consider using a journal to track the results so you can better determine what works for you, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night. Your health depends on it.



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