Getting good sleep is incredibly important for your overall health.
We all know that getting enough sleep is important. But did you know that sleep deficiency can increase the risk for health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or even a stroke?
And let’s face it – a lack of sleep can just plain make you CRANKY!
This Sunday is Daylight Savings and we are losing an hour of sleep. If you are one of the millions of people who already suffer from not getting enough of sleep then this is just going to make things much worse for you.
It's generally recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night (I know that seems like a lot) but there are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep, including making changes to your diet by adding some sleep-inducing foods!!
EAT YOUR WAY TO BETTER SLEEP
Choosing foods to help with a better a better night’s sleep means more than avoiding caffeine and heartburn-inducing foods. Certain foods could actually help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
Here is a list of foods you can eat before bed to try to promote better sleep:
Complex Carbs - choose whole grains for your bedtime snack: Popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with nut butter are all good choices.
Oatmeal: Similar to rice, oatmeal is high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. Additionally, oats are a known source of melatonin
Almonds - Almonds are a source of melatonin and magnesium, two properties that help promote sleep and make them a great food to eat before bed.
Walnuts - Walnuts are a popular type of tree nut. Walnuts have a few properties that may promote better sleep, including their content of melatonin and healthy fats.
Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is high in lean protein and tryptophan, which may increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical and low levels of it can contribute to insomnia. To sweeten it up, top the cottage cheese with raspberries, which are rich sources of melatonin.
Cheese and crackers - Calcium (found in cheese, yogurt, and milk) helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin. Additionally, calcium helps regulate muscle movements.
Hummus - Chickpeas are also a good source of tryptophan, so a light lunch of hummus and whole-grain crackers (to help the tryptophan reach the brain), could be a good way to get into a quicker sleep.
Warm Milk - Scientifically, there may be some link between the tryptophan and melatonin content of milk and improved sleep.
Cereal - A bowl of your favorite cereal before bed could help you get better sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The snack combines two components - carbohydrates (from the cereal) and calcium (from the milk) which promote better sleep.
A Cup of Bedtime Tea - Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that may promote sleepiness, and drinking it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality. A nightly cup of decaf tea can be a great choice for bedtime. Try Chamomile, ginger, and peppermint!
Passionflower Tea - Passionflower tea may influence sleep due to its content of the antioxidant apigenin, as well as its ability to increase GABA production.
Honey - The natural sugar found in honey slightly raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily. A spoonful before bed or mixed with chamomile tea could give you a more restful sleep.
Certain fruits: Bananas contain tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium. Both of these properties may help you get a good night’s sleep. Kiw are a low-calorie and very nutritious fruit. Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which may improve sleep quality when eaten before bed. Tart Cherry Juice - Due to its content of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, tart cherry juice may help induce a good night’s sleep.
White Rice - White rice may be beneficial to eat before bed due to its high glycemic index, which may promote better sleep.
Turkey - Turkey is delicious and nutritious. Turkey may be a great food to eat before bed due to its high content of protein and tryptophan, both of which may induce tiredness.
Kale - Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and mustard greens are great sources of magnesium which can improve symptoms of insomnia like sleep time and early morning awakening.
Lettuce - A salad with dinner could speed up your bedtime since lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium.
Pretzels - Foods like pretzels and corn chips have a high glycemic index. After eating them, you’ll have a natural spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels, shortening the time it takes you to fall asleep.
Fatty Fish - Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel, are incredibly healthy. Fatty fish are a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have properties that may improve the quality of your sleep.
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