A good night’s sleep is essential for a fresh start the next morning and our overall well being. Quality sleep has been linked to better health and immune system, quicker reflexes, clarity of thoughts and improved mood.
While there are a number of factors that affect sleep including stress, anxiety and certain medical conditions; what food a person consumes can be a critical factor for the quality of sleep.
Here we have a simple and natural solution for you to improve your sleep by making the right dietary choices and the best part is you probably have most of these food items in your fridge or pantry.
Turkey is a good option for dinner since it is rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan helps boost melatonin which is a sleep inducing hormone. Ever wonder how all that turkey on thanksgiving makes you feel drowsy and sleepy? Well, now you know why. Besides Turkey, you can also try chicken and beef since all protein based foods contain certain amounts of tryptophan. But be wary of how you prepare your meals as spicy and fatty food tends to be a sleep stealer. If you combine it with rice or carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes you can get the most benefits of tryptophan.
Milk and Dairy
Milk and milk based products like yogurt and cheese also contain tryptophan, on top of that calcium is a key content of milk. Yes, we all know that, nothing new. But did you know that calcium also helps calm the nerves and reduce your stress levels? This means that milk not only helps to induce sleep but also helps to ward unnecessary worries off your mind, before you hit the sack.
Almonds contain high levels of magnesium, that helps relax muscles, and tryptophan, yet again makes an appearance with its lulling ways. 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. Try some almond butter or adding some almond oil to warm milk is an excellent way to get those sheep jumping over the fence.
Cherries, especially tart ones can highly boost the level of melatonin, the chemical that regulates our sleep. Have some cherry juice before bed or simply gorge on a bowl full of the delicious fruit and see how it works to make you fall asleep.
Bananas are rich in Magnesium and potassium which act as muscle relaxants. In addition to that, they also contain tryptophan and B vitamins which the body needs for the production of melatonin. So, bananas are a perfect option before bed.
Rice, especially jasmine rice has a high glycemic index, meaning the body digests it at a slow speed, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream. This will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep.
We all know caffeine is a sleep murderer and how coffee and tea can turn you into a night owl. But hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t have tea. The key is to have decaf varieties. Try a cup of warm chamomile tea which is widely known for its relaxing and sleep inducing qualities.
Oatmeal is a great choice not just for breakfast but for dinner as well. A warm bowl of oatmeal will help you sleep better. The combination of carbohydrates and milk in oatmeal is effective in not just providing tryptophan to the body but also facilitating it to the brain. Try not to sweeten with any sugars to avoid messing your sleep. Add bananas or honey instead.
Chia Seeds contain twice the amount of potassium found in bananas and 5 times the amount of calcium found in milk. Plus they also have sleep inducing qualities because of the tryptophan content. Top it on a bowl full of yogurt with some bananas and almonds to get the most of it.
So that’s a quick look at the right foods before sleep. We hope you’ll listen to your grandma’s age old advice and have a glass of warm milk before going to bed, just make sure you don’t eat all the items in this on the same night.
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on How to Sleep Better. You can follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.
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