Avoiding all digital screens, meditation, and lavender on your pillow – these are some of the ways that supposedly promotes a good night’s sleep. However, getting the best sleep can be as simple as eating the right foods before going to bed. Most people feel sleep-deprived due to their love of caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. Nothing is more annoying than insomnia; the evidence is now showing up that sleep is essential for good health. When it comes to sleep, foods are classified into two – sleep promoters and sleep stealers. While alcohol, cheese, spicy foods, fatty foods, and coffee are sleep stealers, below are some foods that help to promote sleep:
Cherries – Naturally, cherries are one of the few foods to contain melatonin (melatonin is the chemical that helps control our sleep). Drinking of tart cherry juice is said to improve sleep duration and quality in people who are suffering from chronic insomnia. Travelers often use melatonin capsules to combat jet lag. If you are not sleeping well or want to improve your sleep quality, you can take a few cherries, tart or otherwise.
Milk – If you could remember when your mother or grandmother prepares you a glass of warm milk to help you fall asleep, this is because milk contains a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin known as the amino acid tryptophan. This may not be just an old wives’ tale. Conversely, some people believe that serotonin and tryptophan might make it easier to sleep or that the glass of milk brings back the childhood memories, which helps you drift off.
Bananas – Bananas contain the natural muscle-relaxants potassium and magnesium and this help makes them promote sleep. They are also carbs, which will help improve your sleep quality. In fact, eating bananas is a win-win situation in general. The potassium present in bananas is good for cardiovascular health and cognitive functioning; in short, they are overall health promoters.
Turkey – Turkey contains tryptophan (a chemical that can make people sleep right in front of the TV after dinner) just like milk. If you are, however, suffering from chronic insomnia, just a meal worth of turkey or a glass of milk is not likely going to be of help. You will have to eat a lot of turkeys or drink a lot of milk to have a major effect.
Sweet Potato – Sweet potatoes are a sleeper’s dream. Sweet potato does not only contain that muscle-relaxant potassium, they also provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates. Other good sources of potassium include lima beans, papaya and regular potatoes (baked and keep the skin on).
Valerian Tea – The root of the valerian plant is known to improve sleep quality and speed the onset of sleep. When you take valerian tea along with chamomile, catnip brews and motherwort (none of which contain caffeine), it will help make you drowsy.
Almonds – Almonds are a great source of healthy fats and they also contain tryptophan and magnesium. The tryptophan and magnesium help to naturally reduce nerve and muscle function while also steadying your heart rhythm.