Sleep is a rare commodity for most people in our fast-paced society. If you asked many people what was one thing that their health could benefit from the most it would be a better, more restful sleep at night. It is no wonder then, that the industry for specialty mattresses, novelty pillows, and sleep aid medications/herbals is on the rise. However, the solution to getting a better night of peaceful slumber may be as close by as your kitchen pantry or refrigerator. To experience the restful slumber you seek, these are some of the best foods to eat for a better sleep. You will thank me in the morning!
1. Peel Back a Banana
A quick, simple bedtime snack to help get your body into a state of relaxation, bananas contain essential minerals to get the job done. The potassium and magnesium found within a banana act as a natural muscle relaxant to slowly ease your body into a calmer state. Bananas also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which is highly regarded for its sleep-inducing effects. With bananas, you will not only gain a restful state of body and mind, but you will benefit from the health effects such as increased fiber and vitamin C.
2. Dairy Products
Your grandmother’s insistence that warm milk will put you right to sleep holds some truth. It isn’t just milk, though, it is dairy products in general. Dairy foods contain tryptophan, like other sleep-inducing foods, so once you have ingested whichever dairy product you choose, your body will begin to experience the calming effects. However, it is important to note that dairy products heavy in sugar may have the opposite effect because of the sugar. Sorry, milkshakes will not help you sleep. Of course, if you are lactose intolerant, this food group is not for you.
3. Walnuts and Almonds
These two types of nuts taste great alone or mixed together and make a great bedtime snack. Not only will you benefit from the protein and healthy fats, each has wonderful sleep-related benefits. Walnuts contain tryptophan, which triggers the body’s natural melatonin and serotonin and allows a better sleep. Almonds contain magnesium, which is an important mineral not only for bone-building but also in the creation of natural forms of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep, reducing frequent wake-ups.
4. Cherries or Cherry Juice
Delicious, juicy cherries are high up there on the “favorite fruits” list for many people. Luckily, they also aid in gaining better sleep. Cherries contain a natural source of melatonin, which is hard to find in foods. Tart cherries are the best choice to boost your melatonin levels, but other cherries will do the trick. If you aren’t partial to eating cherries, you could drink a glass of cherry juice instead. Just be sure to choose a low sugar option, or even better if you can make your own if you have a juicer. The melatonin found naturally in tart cherries will help regulate your sleep/wake cycles and gain you better, less interrupted sleep.
5. Hummus and Crackers
This tasty snack is great before bed because it can help send you off into dreamland faster and for longer periods of time. You will get the crunch factor often sought after in the evening as well as the delicious taste of hummus to dip. Hummus is made with chickpeas, which are rich in the amino acid tryptophan plus folate and choline, which both assist in sleep and a more rested body. Adding in the crackers not only satisfies a hungry belly, but the carbohydrates will elevate your insulin levels and give you a sleepy feeling. This snack is a win-win before heading off to bed.
Head to the Kitchen First
Before you start spending your hard-earned money on gimmicks, novelties, and tricks to gain a better sleep each night, head to your own kitchen and have a look through your cupboard and fridge. You might be surprised at the many foods which can assist you in achieving a more restful sleep without the use of artificial chemicals or medicines. If you don’t have foods stocked and ready to go, a quick trip to the grocery store will work since most sleep-inducing foods are commonly found at most grocery stores.
Finding natural, healthy ways to get a soothing night’s sleep is far better than adding foreign matter to your body like sleep medicines. It is also more cost effective to eat your way to better sleep than to replace your bedroom furniture and change your surroundings. Enjoy the foods you eat, and you will also benefit from the other vitamins and minerals within, not just the sleep-enhancing minerals and acids. (See also: How Does Lack of Sleep Hurt Your Health)
About The Author:
Jamie is a mother to 8 children and an avid cook. She enjoys theater from both the audience as well as being on stage. She has been writing stories ever since she could put pen to paper and still enjoys doing so today. Her passion for food has her often creating new recipes to try on her family, who are always happy to sample. Jamie graduated with a diploma in Social Services and has worked with children for most of her life. She now writes for Sleepify and helps them in their content promotions.