Many of us out there in the world have a hard time falling asleep at night. It becomes repetitive and consumes your life. After a long hard day, you lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and at that moment all the thoughts in the world ever possible come to play and ruin your night. Sleepless nights have a multitude of adverse health effects which is a huge public health concern.
A lot of people turn to sleep aid pills whether it be over the counter or prescription and become addicted. This is definitely not a healthy choice either. Some of us try yoga, meditation, and other techniques all in hopes of finding that cure that will help them have a better night’s sleep.
If you are like many people out there, you will stop at nothing and would be willing to try almost anything to give you the result you are seeking. What if it were possible to eat a certain type of food and you would have a pleasant night’s rest? Would you be willing to eat something you don’t normally care for? Some of these foods in this list contain natural substances that bring on sleep. So before you reach for potentially addictive sleep aid pills, be sure to add these items to your shopping list to ensure you get enough sleep!
RICE: A 2007 study suggests that eating Jasmine rice about four hours before bed will reduce the time you take to fall asleep by half. This is because high-glycemic-index meals – foods the body digests slowly and progressively releasing glucose into the blood – may increase the production of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make you sleepy.
FISH: If you need some help sleeping better, eat salmon, halibut or tuna for dinner. They have a lot of vitamin B6, which is what the pineal gland needs to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.Fish are rich in tryptophan, which naturally produces serotonin and melatonin, hormones responsible for normal sleep. Its best sources are shrimp and lobster.
CHERRIES: Cherries are a great source of melatonin. Opt for a cherry juice or even dried cherries if the fresh fruit is out of season. A 2010 study found people who drank cherry juice fell asleep faster and for longer. Participants also reported improvements in their insomnia symptoms. Drink a glass or have a cup of cherries an hour before bedtime.
BANANAS: Bananas have a lot of magnesium and potassium, which help the muscles relax. Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia, according to a study such as ISI (insomnia severity index) score, sleep efficiency, sleep time, and sleep onset latency (early morning awakening). The super food is also rich in vitamin B6, which promotes the production of melatonin, and tryptophan, both linked to sleep quality.
CHICKPEAS/HUMMUS: Hummus is made from chickpeas and both of which are crucial for regular sleep patterns due to their high content of vitamin B6 and tryptophan. Some call chickpeas the “miracle legume” because they are also filling, resulting in less eating and therefore maintaining your weight. If you don’t like hummus, try roasted chickpeas, desserts with chickpea cookie dough (which is gluten-free), or chickpeas avocado salad.
MILK/YOGURT: Did your parents make you drink milk before bed? Turns out they were right. Dairy products are high in calcium, the body’s most abundant mineral, which helps regulate melatonin. Some studies have indicated that some people who lack calcium have problems falling and staying asleep. Milk also contains tryptophan. That’s why it has a sedative effect and people tend to fall asleep faster. Researchers have found that calcium levels in the body are higher during the deepest phases of sleep.
GRAPEFRUIT AND WATERMELON: Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is associated with good sleep. It is found in grapefruit, watermelons, tomatoes and papaya. A 2013 study found very short sleepers had consumed less lycopene than 7–8-hour sleepers.
FORTIFIED CEREAL: Fortified cereal is cereal cooked with added vitamins and minerals. The cereal has a lot of vitamin B6, needed for the production of melatonin. The carbs in these kinds of cereals are the healthy ones –complex, unprocessed and containing fiber. Studies show the complex carbs help people fall asleep easier because they break down slowly, preventing blood sugar spikes and keeping serotonin levels consistent for a longer period of time.
SWEET POTATO: Sweet potatoes are another great source of complex carbohydrates that promote better sleep. Plus, they also have plenty of potassium, a muscle-relaxant. A study shows a genetic link between potassium and slow-wave sleep. A gene responsible for regulating the flow of potassium is also the gene that is required for slow-wave sleep, the deepest phase of our sleep cycle.
TURKEY: Turkey is loaded with tryptophan, the amino acid that brings on sleepiness. Tryptophan is also needed for the body to produce serotonin, which is then used to make melatonin. But turkey alone won’t make a big difference as you would basically have to overeat. Consuming it with healthy carbs will have a more positive effect.
HERBAL TEA: Herbal teas, as long as they are decaf, relax you and can make you sleepy. Green tea, for example, contains theanine, an amino acid that encourages sleep. Many people prefer valerian or chamomile tea at night. Valerian is a common ingredient in products promoted as mild sedatives and sleep aids for nervous tension and insomnia.
STRAWBERRIES, PINEAPPLE, LEAFY GREENS: Green leafy veggies are a good source of calcium, which encourages better sleepbecause they help the brain produce tryptophan to make melatonin. Strawberries have lots of vitamin B6. Research has shown pineapples boost the production of melatonin like few other foods. People who ate the fruit had 266 percent higher levels of melatonin than others.
LENTILS: Lentils are loaded with magnesium, a muscle relaxant that improves sleep quality according to a study. These legumes also contain plenty of potassium — another mineral that relaxes muscles — and lentils that are packed with fiber to help the digestive system relax.
WALNUTS,ALMONDS: Loaded with tryptophan, walnuts are also proven to be a natural source of serotonin and melatonin. Almonds are rich in the muscle relaxant magnesium, which is important for keeping regular sleep patterns. Just a handful an hour before bed will do the trick. Studies have shown that when the body is too low on magnesium, it will take longer to fall asleep.
LETTUCE: In the world of herbal medicine, lettuce is considered a mild sedative because of the lactucarium it contains. The milky fluid is like opium to the brain. Wild lettuce supplements are used to treat insomnia problems, among other conditions, according to WebMD.
HONEY: Honey has natural sugar. It increases insulin levels but only slightly, which results in tryptophan freely passing through to the brain. Put some honey in your herbal tea before going to bed for a maximum effect and peaceful sleep.