You’re probably aware that food plays a big role in improving our energy levels, but did you know that some foods can help you get a better night's rest? We don’t often focus on meals and snacks that help us get some quality shut-eye, as we’re typically focused on consuming things to keep alert levels high. But on the other side of caffeine and energy foods, here are some items to add to your grocery list for restful nights.
Some fruits contain significant amounts of melatonin. If you don’t know what melatonin is - it is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle by “reminding” your brain when to relax, wind down, and get some sleep. A list of fruits that have noticeable amounts of melatonin include cherries, bananas, pineapple, oranges, and kiwis. So if you’re feeling abnormally awake by the time your normal bedtime hits, try having two of the listed fruits to aid your sleep.
Warm cup of tea
Having a cup of something warm (without caffeine) plays more of a psychological role than scientific. Yes, having say chamomile or lavender tea generally heightens sleepiness. However, if you simply want to drink a glass of warm milk, this is more so a relaxing, maybe even nostalgic sleep routine. If having a warm drink was a night time ritual when you were a kid, doing this as an adult may help you get to sleep.
Fish and poultry
Foods like chicken and turkey have decent amounts of tryptophan - a hormone that aids in the making of serotonin, a relaxing hormone, and melatonin. Whereas, fish - especially salmon, tuna, and halibut have significant amounts of vitamin B6. This vitamin is another source that makes melatonin. By eating fish, chicken, or turkey for dinner, the melatonin encourages a subtle head start to having a good sleep.
Lettuce contains a phytonutrient called lactucarium which is known to improve sleep, relieve pain, and protect your cells that reduce inflammation. Another way to consume lettuce easily before bed is to brew lettuce tea. Add some hot water to some leaves of romaine lettuce and add honey for sweetness.
Yes, there are some carbohydrates that can help you get to bed. Complex carbs to be exact. These are foods that have fiber integrated or mixed in with them, and they encourage higher levels of melatonin and serotonin. On the contrary, you’ll want to avoid simple carbohydrates that are found in sugary and processed foods. Basically, avoid the cookies and white breads and go for popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers as a late night snack, especially if you’re having trouble getting to sleep.
If you ask us, this is not a bad list when it comes to eating food for better sleep. You can get pretty creative with how you choose to eat these sleep inducing foods. It’s a win-win when you get to eat or drink foods that offer proper nutrition and sleep!