Sleeping well is possibly the most straightforward way to care for your physical and mental health. But more than 50 million Americans have a sleep disorder, making it difficult for them to get their daily rest.
While changing your environmental conditions and daytime habits can positively influence sleep patterns, your dietary routine can also affect the quality of sleep. Some foods help you sleep better, while others may cause disturbances during the night.
In this article, we discuss the best foods that help you sleep through the night so that you wake up fresh and well-rested.
Best Foods For Sleep
What to eat before bed? If you’ve ever answered this question with a large pizza or a microwaved cup muffin, you need to correct your ways. Here are the best foods for sleep that you must have in your kitchen.
Turkey is not just a Thanksgiving delicacy but also an ideal food to eat before bed. Being rich in proteins, it provides you about eight grams of this nutrient in every ounce.
Proteins are vital for your muscle strength and also help regulate the appetite. Moreover, turkey contains many useful minerals and vitamins, including riboflavin and selenium.
While we can go on about turkey’s nutritional value, its sleep-inducing effects are due to the presence of tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that induces melatonin production. That’s why you find yourself snoring on the couch after devouring a stuffed turkey on Thanksgiving.
Furthermore, some studies show that eating proteins at night is linked to fewer sleep disturbances and better overall quality of sleep.
In many parts of the world, people drink warm milk before bedtime to sleep well, although the practice is not common in Western countries.
Since milk has multiple sleep-promoting components, it’s just what you need before bed. These compounds include melatonin, tryptophan, vitamin D, and calcium.
While melatonin itself is the sleep hormone, tryptophan acts as a precursor, increasing melatonin production to make you feel sleepy.
If you often struggle to sleep, keeping a jar full of pistachios on your nightstand might help. Pistachios contain magnesium, proteins, and vitamin B6. Besides their health benefits, these compounds are also known for their sleep-promoting impact on the body.
However, don’t eat more than one ounce of pistachios as over-consumption of any food before bed can keep you up at night.
Traditionally ranked among the best foods for sleep, chamomile tea has relaxing properties. The main component of chamomile is flavones. They’re antioxidants that lower inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases in the long run.
Moreover, evidence suggests that drinking chamomile tea enhances the body’s immune response while lowering depression and anxiety. Chamomile tea is also associated with better skin health and may be an important regulator of the sleep cycle.
Among all other antioxidants, the most notable component of chamomile is apigenin. It binds to the brain receptors, lowering the risk of insomnia and promoting sleepiness.
A study showed that chamomile tea helps improve sleep quality. A group of women drank the tea for 14 days and experienced a betterment in sleep quality as compared to the non-tea-drinking group.
Furthermore, the researchers also reported that the group that drank chamomile tea had lower depression levels.
Likewise, another study found that using 270 milligrams of pure chamomile extract for 28 days – twice a day – helped the study subjects doze off 15 minutes faster. Plus, they had fewer nighttime awakenings than the group that did not consume the extract.
If you have a habit of midnight snacking that often wakes you up at night, try eating string cheese before bed. It contains proteins and fats that the body digests gradually throughout the night, keeping you full and preventing nighttime awakening.
Moreover, string cheese contains tryptophan, which further stimulates melatonin production to help you sleep better. Tryptophan also acts as a serotonin precursor, lowering anxiety that is most people’s cause of insomnia.
As random as it sounds, tart cherries can help you get over your sleeplessness. They contain several sleep-promoting chemicals, such as tryptophan, serotonin, and melatonin. Some experts also theorize that polyphenols present in tart cherries could regulate sleep.
A 2018 review showed a positive correlation between cherries and better sleep. The study authors also said that cherries’ antioxidant properties could enhance cognitive function and may help reduce the pain that often makes it difficult for people to fall asleep.
Since tart cherries are rich in vitamin E and vitamin C, they make a delicious and healthy bedtime snack. Plus, their fiber content will keep you full during the night, ensuring you don’t wake up to check the fridge at 2 am.
We all know eating greens is healthy but did you know they can also help you sleep well? Anecdotal evidence suggests that lettuce seed oil may have a mild sedative effect, while researchers believe the effect to be due to lactucin’s presence in lettuce.
A 2013 study showed that mice that were given n-butanol fraction, containing lactucin, of lettuce slept longer. Plus, it took them less time to fall asleep.
Similarly, a 2017 study showed the same results, reporting that lettuce increases sleep duration while protecting the cells from stress-related inflammation.
What to eat before bed if you’re having snack cravings? It’s best to dump the sugar-rich store-bought snacks and try some of these:
- Banana in low-fat yogurt
- Peanut butter smeared on whole-grain crackers
- Pieces of string cheese
- An apple with low-fat cottage cheese
- Some whole-grain pita chips
Most people are pleasantly surprised to know that their eating habits could be the cause behind their poor sleep quality and latency. In this guide, we have mentioned the best foods that help you sleep through the night.
If you don’t want to toss and turn after getting under the sheets, try some of these foods, and you’ll notice a huge difference in your overall sleep pattern.