Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative, and there are foods that can actually help you sleep better. Perhaps you already know of some foods that will keep you up past your bedtime, like coffee and cola, but there are foods that provide vitamins and minerals that trigger your body’s natural sleep signals, making you feel sleep and helping you stay asleep once you’re there. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to see just how much of a difference it can make to your quality of sleep.
You don’t actually have to eat cherries before bed in order to get their benefit. Keep a bottle of cherry juice in the refrigerator and sip on it a few hours before you plan to retire for the night. You’ll help your body boost its own melatonin levels naturally, so don’t be surprised when you find that you can’t keep your eyes open around the 9 o’clock hour. Don’t try to stay up past your natural sleep cycle, it’s OK to go to bed early, you’ll find that you’ll naturally wake up earlier feeling great and you can get the things done in the morning that you weren’t able to get to at night.
Eating grapefruit before bed has been an old wives’ tale for years, but as it turns out there’s a reason why this has been known to help sleep. It contains lycopene, an antioxidant in the body that has been shown to improve the way you sleep. This is additional good news, since lycopene has also been shown to help ward off heart disease and cancer, and has anti-aging benefits. Just one more reason to start adding grapefruit to your diet, as well as other foods that contain lycopene. Grapefruit can also help you lose weight if needed, and being at a proper weight can lead to better sleep as well.
Almonds are considered a superfood, and being a sleep aid is just one of a number of benefits they provide. Almonds contain helpful magnesium, which helps your body relax, preparing you for sleep and allowing you to stay asleep longer. Almonds also have healthy fats which your body needs each day, and can be used as part of a healthy diet. They’ve also been shown to help build muscle if you are lifting weights, and getting better sleep while following a muscle building exercise regimen means your muscles will heal more quickly, providing faster results.
The lycopene in tomatoes is what makes them a good choice for a dinnertime mainstay. Go with cooked tomatoes whenever possible, as this unlocks more of the lycopene so you get more of a benefit. It’s been widely known that tomatoes are good for you thanks to their lycopene content, but few realize just how many benefits this one antioxidant brings with it. Adding this to your diet should not only help you sleep better, but will help you avoid some serious diseases like cancer and heart disease according to research. Getting better sleep will also improve all areas of your life, so start eating more tomatoes if you don’t already.
The calcium in yogurt and other dairy products will help your body de-stress, which will help you fall asleep more quickly and avoid the wandering mind when trying to get to sleep. When eaten as a nighttime snack you’re also introducing good bacteria to your digestive system, which will be hard at work while you sleep. You can find calcium in other dairy products as well, like milk or cheese, but yogurt seems to be better tolerated as a bedtime snack, also acting to curb your appetite long enough to fall asleep without struggling with hunger pains.
Dates present a dual action sleep enhancer because they contain tryptophan and they also contain fast-acting carbohydrates that help the tryptophan take effect. This means they not only provide the element that induces drowsiness, but also the means to have it work more effectively. Consuming dates an hour before you plan to go to sleep will make it so you have less of a problem drifting off. Other foods that are a rich source of tryptophan is turkey, dairy, nuts, and seeds. The trick is you’ll want to eat a food that is rich in carbohydrates at the same time to make it work better.
Tea is a popular nighttime remedy for insomnia, and there are even special varieties that are specifically meant to make you more sleepy. You can try chamomile tea, one that is especially known to put the body in a relaxed state. You can also try teas with a minty flavor to them, like spearmint. Lemongrass tea is also known for helping you fall asleep. You’ll want to avoid any tea that has caffeine in it of course, and you can try mixing up different types until you find the right mix that puts you out for the count.
The calcium in kale will help your body relax after a stressful day. We don’t typically think of green vegetables as containing calcium, since dairy gets bought up the most in a discussion on calcium, but kale has plenty. The interesting thing is that it will give you energy to get you through your day, and then help you relax when the day is finished and it’s time for rest. It really is a wonderful food, and one that provides plenty of benefits, including essential minerals, protein, and fiber.
9. Miso Soup
Miso soup is a staple in Japanese culture, and is becoming more widely available in the US. It is made from fermented soybeans, and is often served alongside sushi to help round out the meal. This soup contains amino acids that will help your body produce its own melatonin naturally, which will help you start yawning at the appropriate time. It’s a good idea not to ignore these signals and fight to stay awake. Go to sleep when your body starts telling you it’s time. The Japanese tradition of taking a hot bath before bedtime may also help you in your quest to fall asleep more naturally.
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