Do you know that what you eat affects the quality of your sleep? There are some foods that make you sleepy, whereas there are others that help to arouse you.
Hence, for people troubled by sleeplessness, picking the right food is necessary to improve sleep naturally.
Instead of taking sedatives, consider eating foods that stimulate secretion of brain chemicals that help you to fall asleep easily. Snacking on foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain, helps in enjoying a sound sleep in the night.
Here is what you should eat and drink to sleep better.
Milk And Cereal
Although drinking a glass of warm milk after dinner is a popular remedy for treating sleeplessness, studies have shown that milk alone cannot boost production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
To sleep better, it is advisable to combine milk with healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain cereal. A bowl of milk and cereal is the ideal after-dinner snack for people struggling with sleeping problems.
Whole milk supplies the body tryptophan, carbohydrate increases availability of tryptophan in the brain.
Yogurt With Granola Or Crackers
Another nighttime snack that combines proteins and carbohydrates in the right quantities to help raise the tryptophan level in the blood is yogurt with granola or crackers. Yogurt is a source of tryptophan.
Tryptophan has to compete with other amino acids introduced in the body by yogurt to reach the brain. Insulin released in the bloodstream to aid absorption of sugar stimulates uptake of amino acids other than tryptophan into the muscles, thereby leaving tryptophan behind in the bloodstream.
As the level of tryptophan compared with other competing amino acids is higher in the blood following carbohydrate consumption, it is easily carried to the brain.
Bread And Cheese
To sleep better, consider snacking on bread and cheese before bedtime. The combination of milk protein and carbohydrate will provide the same benefit as the aforementioned sleep inducing snacks.
However, keep the snack small. A little food in the stomach helps you to sleep better, whereas overeating will disrupt sleep by causing digestion problems.
You can fight sleeplessness by eating a banana before going to sleep. Banana contains several nutrients that help in promoting sleep. It contains tryptophan and has enough sugar to improve availability of tryptophan in the brain.
Moreover, sugar helps to suppress the neurotransmitter orexin that makes you alert. In addition, banana is a good source of potassium and magnesium that helps in relaxing the muscles.
Eating fatty fish daily can help you to sleep better. Studies have shown that people who eat oily fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut frequently sleep for a longer time and wake up less in the night.
The benefit of consuming oily fish is attributed to the omega-3 fat DHA found in fish oil. High levels of DHA in the brain improves communication between nerve cells that plays an important role in improving sleep.
Tart Cherry Juice
Drinking tart cherry juice twice a day helps to treat sleeplessness. Tart cherry is a natural source of melatonin. Moreover, the polyphenolic compounds called proanthocyanidins give the tart cherries their ruby red color.
These compounds suppress activities of an enzyme that destroys tryptophan. In addition, the antioxidant compounds in tart cherries help in decreasing inflammation and pain that disrupt sleep.
You can fall asleep fast by eating jasmine rice four hours before going to sleep. Jasmine rice has a high glycemic index, which is almost twice that of other rice varieties. Hence, this aromatic rice is digested slowly.
Studies have shown that it significantly reduces the time taken to fall asleep. By gradually releasing glucose in the bloodstream, the high glycemic index food helps you to sleep better by enabling tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier with ease.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
If you are having sleeping problems, increase intake of spinach, turnip greens, kale and other dark leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens are packed with sleep inducing minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Calcium is essential for producing the sleep hormone melatonin. By relaxing the muscles and nerves, magnesium and potassium help in fighting sleep disorders.
Chickpeas Or Garbanzo Beans
Deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause sleep loss. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B6 are associated with vivid dreams. An easy remedy for sleeping problems is to eat chickpea, which is an excellent source of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 stimulates production of melatonin, enabling you to sleep better. Chickpeas also contain tryptophan.
Hummus With Pita Bread
A delicious way to improve sleep is to have hummus and pita bread for dinner. Made with chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, hummus is an excellent source of vitamin B6 and proteins.
When eaten with pita bread, you get carbohydrate for increasing availability of tryptophan.
To enjoy a good night’s sleep, snack on walnuts. Walnut is an excellent source of natural melatonin. Moreover, it also contains tryptophan, a precursor to melatonin. Hence, eating walnuts helps to boost the melatonin level in the brain, helping you to sleep better.
Almond milk is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium. Both these minerals help in promoting sleep. Calcium is needed for melatonin production, while magnesium helps in muscle relaxation.
Lettuce Salad Or Tea
A cup of lettuce tea or snacking on lettuce salad can help you to get a good night’s sleep naturally. Lettuce contains a natural sedative called lactucarium.
To treat sleeplessness naturally, prepare a decoction with lettuce leaves by simmering 3 to 4 large lettuce leaves for about 10 to 15 minutes in a cup of water. Drink lettuce tea before going to bed.
Chamomile tea is a mild sedative. It helps in relaxing the muscles and the nerves. Sipping a cup of chamomile tea before going to bed can help you to sleep easily. As it is free from caffeine it is the ideal alternative to regular tea and coffee. To prepare chamomile tea, brew 2 to 3 chamomile tea bags in water.