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8 Great Foods That Help You Sleep Better And Stay Healthier

8 Great Foods That Help You Sleep Better And Stay Healthier

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

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.

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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.

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Bananas

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.

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Milk

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.

Fish

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.

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Leafy Greens

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.

Cherries

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.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2020

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

1. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

During the month you are eliminating:

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  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dairy
  • soy

Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

Finding Out How Food Impacts You

Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

3. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes & nuts
  • Replacing butter with olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Moderate amounts of red wine

Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

4. The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

The Big Takeaway:

Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

Reference

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