Food has the power to do all sorts of things to our bodies. According to SleepHealth.org it is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans every year. Luckily, there are certain foods that contain substances that naturally help people fall asleep faster and stay that asleep through the night. If you are one of those people that have trouble with sleep or know someone who does, these foods and drinks may do the trick!
A Spoonful of Nut Butter Does the Body Good
Nuts can be turned into several dairy products including milk and butter. They are usually packed with tons of protein and can have a creamy and savory flavor. Butter made from nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and cashews contains tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps balance nitrogen in adults, allowing them to sleep deeper and longer. It’s recommended to only eat about one tablespoon in order to not feel too full. To add some carbohydrates try spreading it on a cracker or piece of fruit.
Bananas Can Do More Than Just Help You Sleep
Bananas are one of the best foods to eat for people who can’t fall asleep. They contain natural muscle-relaxants with magnesium, potassium, and carbohydrates. Also, the vitamin B6 found in bananas has the ability to convert tryptophan into serotonin.
All of these substances found in bananas are designed to relax the body, improve cardiovascular health, and help cognitive functioning. Those who would rather not eat them plain can try pairing them with nut butter, yogurt, or toast.
Why Oatmeal Shouldn’t Be Eaten For Breakfast
Oatmeal may be associated more with breakfast, but it actually makes for a good before bed meal. Whole-grain oats increase the body’s production of insulin, which causes neural pathways to transfer tryptophan to the brain and raise blood sugar.
Oats are also high in vitamin B6 and melatonin, which can reduce stress, relax the body, and help people sleep more naturally. Those who really want to fall asleep fast should add milk or fruit because those contain similar sleep-inducing chemicals.
Don’t Hit Snooze On The Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella cheese is one of the most powerful foods to help get you to sleep. It contains at least twice the amount of tryptophan as lean meat proteins, which will get people to sleep faster and longer.
The best version to eat is the part-skim mozzarella, which is usually found in string cheese. On its own it serves as a nutritious protein, but it can also be paired with some whole grain crackers or tomatoes and basil for a caprese salad.
It’s Great That Melon Is Mostly Water
Half of the contents in most melons are usually just water. One of the reasons people may have trouble falling or staying asleep can be caused by dehydration. Luckily, a serving of melon before bed is great for staying hydrated.
Also, the high fiber content from the melon can eliminate post-dinner hunger pains and ease digestion. If melons aren’t your thing try replacing it with another fruit with lots of water such as apples, oranges, or pears.
The Numerous Ways To Eat Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have everything someone needs to get to sleep. They provide complex carbohydrates that promote sleep, potassium that helps muscles relax, and are a great source of calcium.
They are one of the most versatile vegetables out there and can be whipped up into toast, fries, chips, and more. A piece of sweet potato drizzled with honey or a pinch of sea salt may aid someone trying to fall asleep.
Warm Milk Isn’t Just For Childhood Bedtime Memories
Some people may have memories of having warm milk as a child right before bed. That is because milk is a great source of tryptophan and has even been shown to improve sleep patterns. It also works well when taken with melatonin and after exercise.
When the tryptophan turns into serotonin it makes it a lot easier to fall asleep, but some think that associating the memory of warm milk with going to bed as a kid also triggers the body to sleep more soundly.
Tart Cherry Juice Is Packed With Many Nutritional Benefits
Aside from assisting in a better night’s sleep, tart cherry juice has multiple health benefits. An eight-ounce serving contains 62 percent of our daily vitamin A needs, 40 percent for vitamin C, and 14 percent for manganese.
It also has lots of antioxidants that protect cells from harmful inflammation. Tart cherry juice has been studied for relieving insomnia and improving sleep quality. This is mainly due to its high content of melatonin. In a study by PubMed Central, adults with insomnia who drank the juice twice a day for two weeks reported better sleep quality than those who didn’t.
Look For The Fatty Acids In Walnuts
Various types of tree nuts have been studied with sleep production and researchers agree that walnuts are one of the best to consume before bed. Walnuts are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese and are a great source of healthy fats.
Their fatty acids may contribute to better sleep because the substances in the acids can be converted to melatonin. Try pairing some with a pinch of honey to add a bit of sweetness to the nutty flavor.
Honey Can Help
If you’re the type of person who can fall asleep, but has trouble staying asleep, you’ll want to be sure to add honey to your pantry. Eating honey before you lay down can also help you get a good night’s sleep because of two properties it contains.
Raw honey naturally has both fructose and glucose, which helps your liver produce glycogen. Having enough glycogen in your body can help you stay asleep throughout the night and may prevent you from tossing and turning.
Grab That Magnesium-Filled Fig
Figs are a yummy source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. All of these nutrients contribute to a good night’s sleep. “These minerals help with blood flow and muscle contraction, which are key for falling asleep,” says Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Jaclyn London.
Dr. Ashwin Metha, medical director of Integrative Medicine, adds that magnesium-filled foods helps the muscles relax, which induces a sleep state. Fig also serves a healthy dose of fiber, so eating one before bed will prevent you from feeling constipated. Plus, the sweetness will curve your sugar craving.
Late At Night, Bring On The Hummus
Made with chickpeas and healthy oils, hummus supplies a low-calorie serving of tryptophan. It also fills you up quickly. “If you’re waking up hungry in the middle of the night, that usually means you’re not getting enough calories during the day,” says Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CWC, CHLC.
Hummus’s main ingredient, chickpeas, also provides a lot of vitamin B6. This produces more melatonin to help you doze off. If you wake up hungry, or can’t fall asleep, eat some hummus as a late-night snack.
Mix In Some Barley Grass Powder
Barley grass powder is a supplement that people add to smoothies and juices for its many nutritional benefits. According to a 2018 review in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, barley grass regulates and promotes sleep. The powder offers calcium, potassium, magnesium, and tryptophan–all nutrients that help you catch some ZZZ’s.
According to the same review, barley grass also provides antioxidants, inhibits inflammation, and prevents depression. You can mix barley grass powder into scrambled eggs, salad dressings, and soups.
Calcium helps the brain create tryptophan, which in turn produces melatonin. And what better way to supply that calcium than a cup of yogurt? Research in the 2014 BMC Geriatrics confirms that eating more yogurt helps people fall asleep easier.
If you have a lactose sensitivity, you may want to swap milk with yogurt. Yogurt is easier to digest than milk, so it’s safe to eat it before bed and not stay awake from your body working to break down the proteins.