Almost every adult at some point or another struggles with insomnia. Whether it’s something you’ve dealt with frequently or it’s a new problem that’s popped up, it’s worth examining the foods you eat and learning more about how they can help improve your sleep.
Many people are surprised to hear how much the foods you eat can influence how well and how much sleep they get at night. When focusing on getting a quality night’s sleep, it’s not just avoiding caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed that can make a difference. Instead of focusing on what not to eat, take the time to learn what foods can support good sleep.
9 Foods to Help You Eat Your Way To Better Sleep
Try adding the following foods to your diet if you’re looking for ways to improve and support your sleep. While you should avoid large or heavy meals too close to bedtime, having a small snack can help. A whole grain bowl of cereal with almond milk or a few seed crackers topped with almond butter, flax or chia seeds are great options, but keep reading for a full list of sleep friendly foods.
This small but mighty fruit contains numerous vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins C and E as well as potassium and folate. Their antioxidant properties and their high concentration of serotonin is believed to help make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially when kiwis are consumed about an hour before bed.
Eating fish helps your sleep by providing a powerful dose of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to regulate your body’s serotonin. In addition, salmon, halibut and tuna are great sources of vitamin B6, which is needed to create our natural sleep hormone, melatonin. Fish consumption has shown to be particularly helpful in supporting sleep during winter months when vitamin D levels are lower.
3. Chia Seeds
These seeds contain tryptophan, which raises your melatonin and serotonin levels, both hormones that support stable sleep. They are also a good source of magnesium (a natural muscle relaxant), and are also high in omega 3 fatty acids.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains, such as bulgur and barley, can strongly influence overall sleep quality since they’re enriched with nutrients known to impact sleep. They contain magnesium, which not only helps you relax, it also guides your sleep cycles by regulating melatonin.
5. Leafy Green
Kale, spinach and collard greens are a great source of calcium and iron. Calcium, in particular, has been proven to reduce stress, making it easier to sleep.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews contain melatonin as well as other essential minerals like magnesium and zinc. Eating just a few nuts at a time can help support a range of bodily processes such as steadying your heart rhythm and nerves, allowing a better night’s rest.
7. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are different than sweet cherries. They are sometimes also called sour cherries. You can find them whole, but can also come in the form of tart cherry juice. This specific type of cherry has been found to have above-average concentration of melatonin, to help regulate your sleep cycle, as well as an antioxidant effect that encourages sleep.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 which supports melatonin production. Bananas also contain a hefty dose of magnesium which has also been shown to alleviate muscle cramps that may be disrupting your night time sleep.
9. Chamomile tea
While you don’t want to have too much liquid before bed, chamomile tea has been shown to reduce anxiety and bring on a sense of calm, making it easier to turn off your brain and fall asleep.
Make the Right Food Choices to Support A Good Night’s Rest
The right foods can certainly make a difference when it comes to getting the sleep you need, but so can eating habits. Remember, as your body starts to slow down at night, so does your digestive system. If you have a habit of eating large quantities or rich foods before bed, it will be more difficult to fall asleep. Your body will have a much harder time slowing down and being ready for sleep if it’s working too hard to digest. Meals should decrease in size and complexity as the day progresses, but if you are still hungry before bed, try snacking on the foods listed above in order to support a better night’s rest.