A good night’s sleep is one of the most sought-after forms of luxury. Yet a third of Americans suffer from less sleep than they’d like, be it due to insomnia or other health issues that make it hard to wind down at night.
Fortunately, eating certain foods might be able to help. That’s good, considering the recommended amount is 7 to 9 hours per night. Good sleep contributes to less stress, better immunity and a healthier brain. Such benefits pay off in immeasurable ways, including healthier relationships at home and work.
So, check your pantry and your refrigerator. If you’re tossing and turning through the night, try munching on these foods a few hours before bed time.
Okay, so this one is a bit cliché. We all know the post-Thanksgiving nap haze that sends many of us straight to the recliner after the big Turkey Dinner.
Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin. Some research suggests that tryptophan contributes to better rest with fewer interruptions during the night.
Kiwis contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and folate. Some research shows that daily consumption of kiwis promote more restful sleep, particularly by improving total sleep time and sleep efficiency.
If your parent ever made you a warm glass of milk before bed, science proves it’s not just a wive’s tale. Drinking a malted milk beverage 30 minutes before bed can help you experience fewer movements during sleep, which helps you sleep longer and feel rested in the morning.
Drinking a big cup of tart cherry juice every day can help you sleep longer during the night. That’s great news for people with insomnia or whose circadian rhythm is out of sync. Tart cherries have concentrated levels of melatonin, along with antioxidants, that is conducive to a good night’s rest.
If you’re less concerned about the amount of time you sleep and more interested in improving the quality of your rest, try having fish for dinner. Fatty fish like salmon is a good source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which regulate serotonin—a key neurotransmitter in helping you snooze.
In a study, participants who ate fish three times per week reported having better, deeper sleeps compared to those who ate pork, chicken or beef.
If you’re a fan of herbal teas like chamomile, mint and rooibos, consider giving passionflower a try. Rich in flavonoid antioxidants (known for reducing inflammation and boosting immunity), passionflower is commonly sipped to reduce anxiety.
The calming qualities of passionflower can translate to improved sleep, too. Thanks to an antioxidant called apigenin that binds to receptors in your brain, your body and mind will get the cue that it’s time to dim the lights and settle in for rest.
In addition, evidence suggests that passionflower increases the production of the brain chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which puts other stress-inducing brain chemicals in check.
Sleep is fundamental to our health, and there’s no substitute for getting your eight hours. However, the demands of the modern world often have us up all night, checking phones and waiting for notifications that come flooding in come sunrise. If you’re struggling to clock in enough restorative rest, try creating a new evening routine by incorporating some of these nourishing foods.