Most of us fall asleep soon after laying our heads on our pillows. But many people have trouble going to sleep at a reasonable hour every night.
Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night, most people sleep an average of only about six hours. In fact, more than 50 million Americans don’t get enough sleep.
Enjoying a good night’s sleep is very important for your health. It will help you be happier, keep your brain sharp, strengthen your immune system, keep your waistline trim, make your skin glow and lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
If you are having trouble sleeping, there may be a very simple solution. Certain foods can greatly increase your odds of a successful night’s slumber.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to help you sleep better.
Cherries contain a good amount of melatonin, the chemical that helps control the body’s internal clock. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, eating a handful of cherries, especially tart cherries, a few hours before going to bed will help you sleep better.
If fresh cherries are not available, you can opt for cherry juice or even dried or frozen cherries. According to researchers from the universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester, people with chronic insomnia must drink a cup of cherry juice twice daily until their condition improves.
Drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime will also help you fall asleep. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Tryptophan and serotonin help you drift off easily at night.
Plus, milk is a good source of calcium, which helps regulate melatonin production. Calcium is also effective in stress reduction and stabilizing nerve fibers, including those in the brain. Along with milk, you can eat other dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
3. Jasmine rice
According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate jasmine rice for dinner fell asleep faster compared to other types of rice.
This is mainly because jasmine rice has a high glycemic index, meaning the body digests it at a slow speed, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream. It also boosts the production of tryptophan and serotonin in the blood, thus encouraging sleep. So, eat jasmine rice to significantly cut the time it takes you to fall asleep.
Bananas have natural muscle relaxants, magnesium and potassium, that help promote sleep. The fruit is also a good source of vitamin B6, which the body needs to make the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. The high carbohydrate content in bananas will help make you sleepy as well.
- Mix one ripe banana with one cup of milk.
- Blend it thoroughly to make a tasty bedtime smoothie.
- Drink it at least one hour before your regular bedtime.
Tuna contains sleep-inducing tryptophan. According to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, tuna is also high in vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation; melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep. A low level of vitamin B6 is associated with insomnia, so it’s good to include B6-rich foods like tuna in your diet. Vitamin B6 is also important for the immune system.
Almonds are a good source of magnesium, which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it is harder to stay asleep.
Plus, almonds supply enough protein to help stabilize your blood sugar level while sleeping. They also help your body switch from your alert adrenaline cycle to your rest-and-digest cycle. Eat just a handful of dry roasted almonds or a tablespoon of almond butter at least one hour before going to bed to fall asleep faster.
7. Fortified Cereal
To promote sleep, eat foods like fortified cereal that contain ‘good’ or complex carbohydrates. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates boost tryptophan in the bloodstream.
Also, fortified cereals are a great source of vitamin B6 that is essential in producing melatonin. For a good night’s sleep, eat a small bowl of fortified cereal that is low in sugar.
8. Hard-Boiled Eggs
If you have trouble staying asleep at night, it may be due to a lack of protein-based foods before bedtime. Eating hard-boiled eggs before bed will help you stay asleep through the night as they contain a high level of protein.
This snack also fights acid reflux, which often flares at night, making sleep difficult. Two slices of brown bread, some cheese, a hard-boiled egg, and a glass of warm milk is the perfect dinner menu for those who are having trouble sleeping soundly at night.
Lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and works the same way as the opium poppy. Green leafy lettuce also is high in calcium that helps bring on sleep as well as potassium that is a fundamental nutrient for the nervous system.
Plus, lettuce helps treat anxiety, headaches, and muscle or joint pain that can cause restlessness throughout the night. To sleep well, you can drink a cup of lettuce tea before going to bed.
- Boil one or two lettuce leaves for five minutes in two cups of water.
- Let it cool, strain it and sweeten the mixture.
- Drink a cup of this tea at least half an hour before going to bed.
10. Herbal Tea
To sleep better, avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages in the evening. But you can surely enjoy a cup of herbal tea to aid sound sleep. Decaffeinated green tea and chamomile tea are the best options for this.
Chamomile tea has chemicals that relax nerves and muscles and act like a mild sedative. Green tea contains theanine, which helps promote sleep. Choose green or chamomile tea, whichever you like the best, and drink a cup of it one or two hours before bedtime. You can read more about the benefits of green tea, here.
Eating these foods just a few hours before you hit the pillow will help you fall asleep faster and even improve the quality of your sleep.