Many people have a difficult time falling and staying asleep. Others simply have a hard time walking away from all of life’s stresses and duties and turning the lights off at a reasonable hour. In fact, over 50 million US citizens do not get enough sleep, despite the bountiful health benefits of getting enough shut-eye. For instance, sleep helps keep your mind sharp, your mood level, and your skin looking young. The good news is if you are having trouble falling asleep at night, there are foods you can eat to help your chances of a successful night’s rest. Let’s take a look at some of the top foods to munch on to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Walnuts are an excellent source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that enhances your sleeping ability and aids in your body producing melatonin and serotonin. These hormones both are called the “body clock” hormones because they change your sleep-wake cycle. On top of this, researchers at the University of Texas found that walnuts even have their own melatonin source, which helps you fall asleep even faster.
Most fish have a tiring effect, but especially tuna, halibut, and salmon, as these have the most B6. This vitamin is known to produce melatonin and helps you fall asleep once the lights are out according to one article found in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Cheese and Crackers
You’ve likely heard that drinking a warm glass of milk before going to bed can make you sleepy enough to fall asleep. However, if milk is not your thing, then any dairy product of your choosing can help. The calcium that is found in milk, cheese, and yogurt all aids in falling asleep through the tryptophan that is found in it, which helps it to produce the sleep-inducing melatonin. On top of this, calcium will contribute to easing muscle movements while you are asleep, which means it is easier to stay asleep.
When sleepers ate dinners that were rich in carbohydrates such as veggies and rice, they fell asleep much faster when the rice was jasmine rice rather than long grain rice in a study found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is because Jasmine rice has a higher glycemic index than its long-grain relative. Although the researchers are not sure why this is, they speculate that the higher glycemic index meals have more insulin and tryptophan compared to other types of amino acids, which allows more of it to get to the brain.
Having a salad for dinner is not only healthier but can also allow you to fall asleep much quicker than you would otherwise, as lettuce has lactucarium in it which is a type of sedative that has a similar effect on the brain as opium. You can even try making a brew by simmering several large leaves of lettuce in one cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it from heat and then add some mint sprigs and sip on it before you head off to bed.
Sitting back and relaxing with a cup of tea and a good book is an excellent way to fall asleep. Additionally, according to studies, drinking certain types of tea such as Chamomile will increase the glycine in your body. This is a chemical that relaxes your muscles and nerves, and even acts as a natural, mild sedative. One study performed in Australia also found that those who drank a cup of passion fruit tea also experienced more sound sleep.