Did you know that food can act as a sleep aid? Avoid medication or harsh chemicals, by incorporating natural foods into your diet to help you induce those sleepy feelings.
From herbs to juices, there are plenty of common foods that are not only good for your health but can help get you into a restful state quicker.
Here are some of these common food items that can help you relax and get a good night’s rest!
The old adage about a warm glass of milk at bedtime actually has something to it.
A cup of warm milk can be comforting as dairy contains a mixture of tryptophan and calcium that gives you that sleepy feeling, and can send you into la-la-land in no time. Not only that, calcium deficiency has also been shown to keep you from falling asleep.
Nip that problem in the bud with a glass of calcium-rich milk.
This sour juice contains melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ that relaxes you. Research showed that those who had insomnia showed an improvement in their sleep patterns after drinking one cup twice a day.
Steer clear of juices that are full of sugar and artificial flavoring though, as these could have the opposite effect. Look for an all-natural juice without added sugars, or even better, make your own juice from fresh cherries.
Bananas are packed with minerals associated with muscle and nerve relaxants, magnesium and potassium.
They also contain the vitamin B6 which converts tryptophan into serotonin, relaxing you and giving you sleepy feelings. So about 30 minutes before bedtime, grab a banana to wind down.
Honey is a natural sweetener that contains glucose, which inhibits the production of the neurotransmitter orexin.
Orexin is associated with alertness, so when it’s switched off, your body goes into a natural state of relaxation.
Add a spoonful of honey into warm milk and this will give you the perfect blend of protein and carbohydrates that should help you bring on the sleepy feelings in no time.
If you’re eating meat during dinner, why not try turkey? It contains tryptophan, which turns into the sleep hormone melatonin and relaxant serotonin.
But be sure to avoid cured, processed turkey meat, because they contain tyramine that could create the opposite effect, alertness.
Just make sure you don’t have anything to do after dinner because, like on Thanksgiving, you will want to take a snooze on the couch or in your bed.
Boost the production of melatonin by eating more fish.
Fish contains vitamin B6, which helps your body make more melatonin. Many varieties of fish, like halibut, tuna, flounder and salmon are rich in the Vitamin B6.
Not only that, they have the added benefit of keeping your heart healthy, as they contain very little saturated fats and are high in oils that are good for you.
Opt for fish as a dinner dish and help your body wind down.
Herbs have been used by humans for a long time, for a myriad of purposes. There are fresh herbs that are able to calm the mind and body, helping you to drift off into sleep such as sage, chamomile, lavender, cardamom and basil.
These can be made into a tea which is relaxing in itself, they can be used in cooking, or their essential oils can be inhaled.
Avoid stimulating herbs like red or black pepper or peppermint as these that tend to have an energizing effect.
Having a wide and varied diet is good for your health – and your sleep patterns. Furthermore, herbs can be a powerful trick up your sleeve to help you control your racing mind or restless body.
Give these foods, drinks and herbs a try close to bedtime and keep track of how easy it is to fall asleep that night, as well as how long it takes you.
With a food/sleep journal, you can find which items are most effective in helping you get to sleep.
These options will be much gentler on the body than sleeping pills or depressants which can leave you groggy in the morning. Who knew that getting a good night’s rest could be so easy and delicious?