These 10 Foods Will Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep
There are a number of factors that contribute to a truly restful night's sleep. Getting more exercise, practicing mediation, taking non-habit-forming sleeps aids, and making environmental improvements (like buying a new pillow, making your bedroom light-tight, or listening to peaceful "sleep" sounds) can all be effective when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep. One of the simpler (yet equally as effective) solutions to your sleep problems is to examine what you eat; your diet can play a significant role in your ability to achieve a restful and restorative night's sleep.
We all know that there are certain foods that make it difficult to sleep (anything that enhances energy or alertness or that causes uncomfortable digestion can make it difficult to nod off), but there are also a number of foods that can enhance your body's ability to unwind and slip into sleep mode. Cooking with these healthy and deliciousingredients — especially at dinnertime — can help you score a better night's sleep.
According to a study published in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, magnesium deficiency makes it difficult to stay asleep. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, so snack on a few before bed or sprinkle them on salads or a stir-fry at dinner if you’re having trouble sleeping.
Cook with bananas for a vitamin B6 boost; this vitamin can also help your body produce more melatonin, the “sleep hormone”. Though we often think of bananas as an ingredient for baking or dessert, they’re also delicious in sweet and savory main dishes like salads.
Like almonds, barley is a good source of magnesium. As an added bonus, it’s also a wholesome source of carbohydrates, which can help your brain get the sleep-inducing amino acids it needs. After it’s cooked and cooled, sprinkle barley on top of salads at dinner.
Tart cherries are particularly rich in melatonin. They pair nicely with pork chops; after you’re done cooking the pork chops, add some pitted and halved cherries to the pan that you cooked them in. Use the cherries, about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a splash of red wine vinegar, a splash of water, and your favorite herbs and seasonings to make a quick pan sauce, scraping up any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Since carbohydrates help tryptophan enter the brain more easily, eating a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get a better night’s sleep. One of the easiest ways to cook with honey is to use it to glaze roasted vegetables. After the vegetables have been roasted in the oven, brush them with a small amount of honey and return them to the oven for 1-2 minutes.
Kale, already hailed for its numerous other health benefits, is also a good source of calcium. Calcium is believed to help your brain use tryptophan and make melatonin. Snack on kale chips before bed or cook raw kale in vegetable stock for five minutes before tossing it garlic oil and serving it alongside your dinner.
Garden lettuce is a mild natural sedative and sleep aid thanks to the lactucariumit contains. Add a small side salad to dinner for a solid night’s sleep.
Shrimp and other crustaceans are rich in tryptophan and can help you achieve a more restful night’s sleep. Try making one of these delicious shrimp recipes for dinner if you’re having trouble sleeping.
A great source of vitamin B6, fish like tuna (and halibut and salmon) will help your body make melatonin and serotonin, which are essential for quality sleep.
It turns out that warm milk does help you sleep at night, owing to the fact that it’s rich in calcium. Calcium helps your body produce the sleep hormone, melatonin. Try using Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream when you’re making Tex-Mex for dinner.