Are you an insomniac? If something is keeping you up at night, eating certain types of food can help you sleep better. Having sleep-inducing foods can be a great way to get the much-needed rest you’ve been craving. So if the old saying is ‘you are what you eat’, you can choose whether you’d like to be a sleepless wreck, or a well-slept human, depending on what you eat!
So let’s look at some foods that can help you sleep better at night.
They’re rich in ‘tryptophan’, an amino acid that helps in producing serotonin and melatonin both of which are fantastic for relaxing your mind, regulating your inner ‘body clock’ and helping you sleep like a baby. Some people actually have pills that contain melatonin to sleep faster, so clearly, walnuts are a much healthier and natural alternative. According to a study performed by the University of Texas Health Science Centre, 1g of walnut contains between 2.5 and 4.5ng of melatonin, which helps sleep better.
They’re a gem of a food for sleeping better, as they contain magnesium, often used as a cure for headaches and for reducing stress. They’re great ‘brain foods’ in general, which helps your mind function better, and therefore, promoting sleep. Scientific evidence suggests that ‘activated almonds’, which are almonds soaked in water for at least 24 hours, are rich in mono saturated fat, which can promote better sleep and a healthier heart, too.
3. Warm Milk
The truth is that any dairy product, including cheese or cottage cheese, with warm milk being on the top of the list, contains calcium, which helps in producing melatonin in the body. Ever tried having a hot glass of milk right before you go to bed? Try it just once, you won’t even notice when your eyes shut and you ‘fall’ asleep. Sleep (or sleepiness) is the body’s natural response to a warm glass of milk! Some scientists say that a warm glass of milk can be as soothing as a favourite old blanket.
They’re quite popular for their richness in potassium and magnesium, both of which are muscle relaxants. Inevitably, when your muscles relax and loosen up, you sleep better. They’ve also got vitamin B6 and are an excellent source of fiber, inducing serotonin, with the by-product being high-quality sleep. Research shows that bananas and sleep are definitely connected!
Here’s an idea. Blend warm milk, a banana, a few almonds and walnuts into the perfect sleep concoction? If it works, it could just be the sleep elixir you need! Read on.
5. Salad Leaves
Lettuce, in particular, has lactucarium, which has sedative properties similar to opium. They reduce inflammations in the body of any kind. Having too much lettuce therefore definitely won’t ‘zombify’ your brain, but can act as a tension diffuser and relaxant to sleep well. Here’s some scientific evidence on the numerous health benefits of lettuce, and how it can help you sleep better.
6. Sweet Potatoes
They’re not just delicious, but a rich source of vitamin B6, vitamin A, and complex carbohydrates which act as sleep inducing agents in the body, while also aiding ocular health. Not only will you sleep better, you can also see better by including these goodies in your diet! This journal of medicinal plants says that potatoes almost act like a sleeping pill by preventing the production of acids in the stomach that cause sleeplessness. It’s theory backed by evidence!
7. Cherry Juice
This sweet potion is rich in melatonin-inducing tryptophan, and also spikes insulin levels up in the body which can make the body a bit ‘lazy & sleepy’. This study found that consuming cherry juice twice a day increased sleep times by up to 90 minutes! Quite interesting, yes?
8. Herbal Tea
Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce muscle and back pains, and acts as a muscle and nerve relaxant. Having a cup of chamomile tea can give you that ‘light headed’ feeling you need to fall asleep. It’s magical, natural and safe! Research shows that chamomile tea also acts as an anti depressant, therefore promoting better sleep by reducing anxiety.
Food for thought: try eating salad with loads of lettuce, sweet potatoes, and cherry juice dressing, followed by a cup of herbal tea, to see what happens? Make sure you’re in bed immediately after consuming this.
As a rule of thumb, you should eat a light dinner and make sure to stop having meals at least 3 hours before you plan to sleep. Drink just enough water (not too little, or you’ll dehydrate yourself to sleeplessness, and not too much, or you’ll drive yourself to endless trips to the bathroom the whole night) so your body is well nourished to sleep. So go ahead, consume sleep inducing foods, create an environment that’s conducive to sleep, and kiss your insomnia goodbye!