Having trouble sleeping? Your diet may be the culprit. Our sleep cycle and quality of sleep greatly depends on the types of foods we eat, and when our diet is improperly balanced, our quality of sleep suffers. The good news is it’s fairly easy to get back on track by cutting out the junk and consuming more foods that naturally induce sleep. Here are some of the best choices to grab for when you find yourself wide awake when you’d rather be sleeping.
Almonds are the perfect bite-sized, convenient snack to chase away insomnia. Chocked full with sleep inducing and muscle relaxing magnesium, a serving of almonds prior to bedtime can help you fall asleep faster. When the body’s supply of magnesium is too low, it becomes much harder to fall asleep. Almonds are also full of protein, which stabilizes blood sugar and improves the quality of your sleep.
High Glycemic Foods
The gylcemic index measures a food’s effect on blood sugar; specifically how fast blood glucose levels rise after consuming a particular food item. The Glycemic Index ranges up to a score of 100, and the higher the score, the faster that particular food item causes spikes in blood glucose levels when consumed. High gylcemic foods, mainly carbohydrates with a glycemic index score of 70 or higher, induce sleep because these foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels. This is why most people feel a sudden burst of energy then a sudden crash in energy when they consume carbohydrate-laden foods. Additionally, when the body experiences insulin spikes, it naturally releases more tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals that increase relaxation.
A sleepless night is the perfect time to make use of this side effect of carbohydrate-laden foods. For optimal results, eat high glycemic foods about 4 hours before your desired bed time.
A single banana is sleep inducing powerhouse. Full of magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan, bananas have practically everything you need to relax and fall asleep faster during a restless night. The potassium and magnesium found in bananas functions as a natural muscle relaxer. The tryptophan found in bananas converts to melatonin and serotonin, two of the body’s essential calming hormones. Keep a few bananas at your bedside to keep sleepless nights at bay.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Eggs are the perfect sleep improvement food for people who have no trouble falling asleep, but find difficulty in staying asleep all throughout the night. The protein found in eggs levels out blood sugar and keeps it steady throughout the night. Eating an egg prior to bedtime prevents the blood sugar roller coaster that interrupts sleep at random hours in the morning. High protein foods like eggs also fights acid reflux, a disorder that often flares up at night, making sleep difficult for many sufferers. Keep seven or so boiled eggs stocked in your refrigerator to have a sleep inducing bedtime snack readily available each night of the week.
Downing a glass of milk before bedtime is a tried and true classic for relaxation. Milk contains high levels of tryptophan, which acts as a sleep inducing sedative. Milk is also a great source of calcium, which helps regulate melatonin production. When you find yourself awake at night when you’d rather be asleep, try a warm glass of milk, and add some cinnamon to make it sweeter and give it a sleep inducing boost.
Eating certain types of fish for dinner can help improve your natural sleep cycle and the quality of your sleep. Fish such as tuna, salmon, cod, and halibut are great sources of vitamin B6, which the body needs to synthesize melatonin and serotonin. Both of these chemicals provide the psychological and physical improvements our body needs to sleep better. B6 vitamins also have an antidepressant effect on the brain, which can relieve depression and other mood altering disorders that can affect sleep. The B6 vitamins and other nutrients found in fish can preserve the body’s circadian rhythm, which not only improves your quality of sleep, but improves your overall health.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are full of nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium that individually induce sleep, so imagine the power of these nutrients when acting in unison. Several leafy green lettuces also contain lactucarium, which is a milky fluid-like secretion with sedative properties similar to opium. Incorporate a small salad into all of your night time meals to speed up the onset of sleep and enjoy a full night of rest.
A single serving of cherries has enough power to naturally boost the body’s melatonin levels within an hour of bedtime. If fresh cherries are out of season in your area, frozen cherries, cherry juice, and even dried cherries should will work just as effectively at curbing your insomnia.