All of us have experienced that moment where we go to bed on time, we lie there for a while, and can’t fall asleep. We look at the clock and it’s 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and suddenly, you have an hour left before you need to “wake up” and prepare for the day.
This is a scenario many people have been through. Nearly 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder — with insomnia being the most common one.
Insomnia can be caused by many factors, like anxiety, depression and poor sleeping habits.
Poor quality of sleep comes with repercussions. You’ll be more susceptible to illness; the immune system weakens; there’s an increased risk of diabetes, and the heart suffers. It can also affect your productivity as it can lead to major cognitive decline and decrease your ability to memorize. Not getting proper sleep can also reduce your sex drive.
Diet plays a very important part in getting those much needed z’s. Certain food products contain properties that can induce sleep.
Below are nine superfood products that can help enhance the quality of your sleep.
Turkey and Chicken
These are great choices for a healthy dinner because not only are they delicious and nutritious they are also rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the boy make serotonin and melatonin, which promote sleep quality. Poultry is also rich in protein, and the ones found in turkey may also contribute to the feeling of tiredness or sleepiness that can be helpful in promoting better sleep quality.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are also great dinner choices because not only are they rich in omega-3 but they also have great amounts of vitamin D, which has the potential to induce sleepiness due to an increase of serotonin production.
Milk contains melatonin and calcium. Fun fact, when cows are milked during the night, their milk tends to contain more melatonin.
Chamomile tea is known for its relaxation properties and a class of antioxidants called flavones. Flavones reduce the inflammation that often leads to diseases like cancer and heart issues.
Chamomile tea is a special kind of tea since it has less caffeine and more apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain brain receptors that promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
You may want to try drinking chamomile tea before going to bed instead of coffee to improve the quality of your sleep.
A banana is packed with magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6. These thre, along with the fruit’s capacity to fill you up quickly, will help you fall asleep fast.
The high potassium levels in bananas can also help your muscles relax and eliminate nighttime cramps, making it the ideal snack for a comfortable sleep.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews and pine nuts, to name a few, contain melatonin and high levels of magnesium and zinc. Research shows that the combination of magnesium, melatonin and zinc promote sleep better for older people (aged 70 and above) with insomnia.
Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates can have a huge impact on sleep because they’re enriched with a range of nutrients known to promote deep sleep. Magnesium works as a muscle relaxant by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid which acts to inhibit the transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system. Together they’re responsible for effectively quieting down nerve activity.
The impact of whole grains on sleep may be influenced by what you decide to eat with them. Make sure that you combine them with the proper amount of protein that has tryptophan and carbohydrates.
Yoghurt is not only good for digestion, but products like Greek Yoghurt are rich in tryptophan as well. Mix it with nuts or seeds and take it without sugar to get the best results.
Another fruit in the list, Kiwi is a great source of melatonin. Consuming two kiwi fruits an hour before bed can improve total sleep time, meaning you can fall asleep faster and sleep for longer.
Healthy Sleep Diet Don’ts
- Don’t drink caffeine in the evening and avoid it in the afternoon since it’s a stimulant that will keep you awake at night.
- Don’t consume alcohol before bed time. Even though alcohol may help you feel sleepy, it stops you from getting quality sleep. It’s best to consume it four hours before bedtime.
- Don’t eat too much at night. Studies show that when you eat late at night the body will mostly store those calories as fat and will most likely interfere with the regenerative cycle that’s supposed take place.
Eat right to sleep well. Once you make this a habit, you’ll notice just how well rested you are every morning.