It’s important to remember , that a lack of sleep isn’t merely an inconvenience, it can also have serious and long-lasting effects on your health. Here are seven foods that will make you sleep better:
While bananas are known for its potassium and magnesium, (two natural muscle-relaxants) it’s another mineral that truly makes this fruit a sleeping superfood: Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that converts into serotonin and melatonin, which in turn calms and relaxes the brain. An apple a day may keep the doctor away but a banana tonight will have you sleeping all night (I apologize). At about 100 calories it’s the perfect late night snack.
2) Sweet Potatoes
Another potassium-laden food makes the list here. Sweet potatoes generally help the body to relax but they are also full of complex carbs that slowly digest and release body-repairing energy at night. The magnesium relaxes the muscles and the nervous system thus reducing the stress hormones so that your body can rest well. It’s a win-win.
3) Cherries/Cherry Tart Juice
Cherries are one of the few plant sources of naturally occurring melatonin, a natural hormone and antioxidant that enhances sleep. Melatonin levels tend to be low during the day. As nighttime approaches, there are less available light signals to the brain to release melatonin. This rise continues for hours, eventually peaking between 2 and 3 a.m. Cherries (specifically Montmorency Tart Cherries) have absurdly high quantities of melatonin when compared to other food items. In one study, participants were given 30ml of concentrated tart cherry juice within 30 minutes of waking and 30 minutes before bed each day. The other participants were given a placebo. The cherry group saw significant boosts in sleep across the board. They saw jumps in time spent in bed, total sleep time, and total sleep efficiency. In total, the participants that drank cherry juice slept an average of 39 minutes longer than those drinking a placebo.
4) Chamomile tea (and most herbal teas)
If it’s been dubbed the “sleep tea” then you know it’s good. Chamomile tea has long been used as a herbal remedy for common colds and other ailments but its sleep-inducing qualities stand out. One of the active compounds in the chamomile plant is apigenin, which reduces motor activity.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (yep, it’s a thing) this breakfast staple can also help you hit the hay. It’s the balance of protein and carbohydrates that do the trick. These two essential nutrients, when combined, put you to sleep in no time. That’s because protein contains (you guessed it) tryptophan. Carbohydrates help tryptophan reach the brain more easily.
High magnesium levels do the trick here. Magnesium repairs your worn out muscles and relaxes them so that your body can rest well. Our favorite amino acid, tryptophan, also makes another appearance here. As mentioned before, tryptophan aids the body’s production of melatonin and serotonin. These two compounds help in regulation of your biological clock and also slow down your body functions when you are about to sleep. Another significant advantage with almonds is that they have a slow-digesting protein that will keep your blood sugar level in check as you are sleeping.
This member of the cashew family is rich in vitamin B6, which is an essential element for sleep. While this vitamin is available in different types of food, these nuts should be your first pick as they preserve almost 100 percent of their B6, unlike other types of food where more than half the amount of the vitamin will be lost through storage and also when cooking. B6 is a super element when it comes to aiding sleep because it helps in the synthesizing of serotonin. The science behind it all is a little more detailed but to make it simple to understand the vitamin serves as a coenzyme that will ensure that the serotonin converts to, that magic word again: melatonin.