You’ve likely heard about drinks and supplements that can help you achieve a restful night’s sleep, but have you ever considered the role your diet plays? Lifestyle choices greatly impact your sleep pattern, which means the foods you eat can indeed lead to deeper rest and rejuvenation. Below we’re sharing 7 of the best foods to add to your diet for better sleep.
There are many natural aways to counter sleep issues. One of our favorites begins in the kitchen with the foods that we eat! The best part is that many of these foods can be eaten raw, or require minimal cooking, so you don’t need to be a master chef to reap their benefits.
Around one third of Americans have difficulty sleeping at least a few times a week.According to the National Sleep Foundation
Without further ado, here are 7 foods you can eat to improve your sleep.
This leafy green vegetable is a good source of magnesium, which is known for its ability to relax muscles and reduce anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep. Kale is also high in calcium, which promotes sleep by regulating the release of melatonin in the body. In addition, kale is a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which are essential for proper sleep.
Add it to your diet by … roasting kale chips, adding kale to salads and stir fries, or blending it in a green smoothie.
Eating nuts before bed can help you fall asleep faster, and also promotes a more peaceful rest. Nuts are a great source of magnesium, a mineral that plays an important role in many bodily processes, including muscle relaxation and sleep regulation.
Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia and other sleep problems. So, if you’re suffering from insomnia or a less severe sleep disorder, your favorite nuts just might be the antidote to your sleep issues!
Add them to your diet by … sprinkling nuts on top of granola or oatmeal, adding nuts to salads, spreading nut butter on toast.
Whole Grains (Quinoa, Oats, Millet, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, etc)
In addition to being good sources of magnesium, whole grains also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin. Your body needs serotonin as a neurotransmitter to promote feelings of calmness and well-being.
Furthermore, whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the night. As a result, including whole grains at dinner can help you sleep more peacefully at night.
Add them to your diet by … having oatmeal for breakfast, eating rice bowls for lunch or dinner, adding quinoa or bulgur to salads.
You’re not alone if you’ve felt extra sleepy after a big turkey dinner. This is because poultry actually promotes sleep. Like whole grains, they contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to have a calming effect on the body.
Studies also say that tryptophan can reduce anxiety and improve moods, thus helping you sleep better. So don’t wait until Christmas or Thanksgiving for those turkey dinners – they can be beneficial all year round!
Add it to your diet by … having chicken or turkey as your main protein in lunches and dinners.
Yogurt is a fantastic source of calcium, a mineral that helps to regulate the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. Yogurt also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has been shown to improve sleep quality. If you’re looking for an evening snack or dessert, yogurt is one of the best options you can choose.
Add it to your diet by … mixing it with granola, making yogurt-based dips like tzatziki, or eating it with fruits and berries.
If you’ve ever had a banana before bed, you may have noticed that you slept better at night. That’s because bananas contain potassium, a mineral that can help relieve muscle cramps and soreness (that may have otherwise kept you up at night). Bananas also contain tryptophan, which converts into sleep-regulating serotonin in the brain.
Add it to your diet by … putting slices on top of your morning cereal or granola, blending it in a fruit smoothie, or eating one plain.
Complex carbs are essential for proper brain function, and can promote feelings of calm and relaxation. For this reason, many people find that eating rice before bed can help them fall asleep more easily. White rice also contains magnesium, a mineral well known for its calming properties.
Add it to your diet by … having rice bowls or sushi, making rice pudding, or having risotto.
As you can see, the best foods for sleep all tend to have a few things in common: good doses of magnesium, tryptophan, and calcium. You can eat these foods throughout the day or strategically incorporate them into your evening meals to get their sleep-inducing benefits as close to bedtime as possible.